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HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) FOR YOUR TRADE SHOWS

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Need a new trade show booth? Looking for a holistic program management partner?

If so, it’s probably time to write a request for proposal or RFP. But, where do you start? The RFP process is critical to finding the best partner for your company; So, how do you make sure you get it right?

We’re no stranger to RFPs. We’ve received and responded to a number of them over the years, and we’re using that experience to compile our top tips and tricks for creating the ultimate RFP.

To help you get started, we’re providing two free, downloadable RFP templates for your team to use at the end of this blog! One for a custom exhibit and one for program management. Before that, we’ve got a few helpful hints to keep in mind when creating and editing your RFP.

TAILOR IT TO YOUR NEEDS

One size doesn’t fit all. Your company is unique, so your RFP should be too. Keep your goals and objectives front and center when crafting each question. Only include points that address your specific needs, and leave the rest out. Which brings us to our next point…

KEEP IT CONCISE

A longer RFP doesn’t mean a better one. Vet your questions to get to the root of your needs. This saves you and your vendor time, and allows you to focus on the questions that matter most.

AVOID REDUNDANCY

Creating an RFP is often a collaborative effort across departments, with everyone chiming in with their questions. If that’s the case, make sure you edit, edit, edit. Often times RFPs may contain the same question several times, just reworded in different ways. Be sure to proofread all of your questions to avoid topic redundancy.

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VISUALIZE A PARTNERSHIP

An RFP shouldn’t be a commodity-driven process; It’s an opportunity to see what a partnership with that vendor would look like. Make your RFP about finding the best partner for you. Ask questions that help describe their process and team to give you the most information on your potential partner.

SWEAT THE RIGHT DETAILS

This RFP is your chance to learn as much as possible about your potential exhibit house. Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty gritty. RFPs can sometimes lean heavily on pricing, and don’t get us wrong, staying on budget is important…but what good is an on-budget booth if it doesn’t achieve its desired results? It’s a good idea to request case studies and client references to determine vendors’ past successes and capabilities. Don’t sweat all the details, just the right ones.

SET A MEETING WITH YOUR VENDOR

If your RFP includes a request for design concepts, you’ll want to set up a meeting/call with your potential vendor. This gives your vendor the opportunity to ask all of the necessary questions for delivering the designs and results that you want. Plus, the discussion is a great chance to gauge what working with the vendor will be like. What’s their communication like? Are they knowledgeable about the show you’re going to? What does a working relationship with them entail? If their communication/knowledge/process isn’t what you’re looking for, this meeting serves as a great test before plunging into a contractual relationship.

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE RFP TEMPLATES

We’re here to help! We’ve put together a comprehensive RFP template for both custom exhibits and program management. Fill out the form below to download the templates and get started on your RFP.