If you are a company that sells products in a business-t0-business format, there is likely 3 letters that are the bane of your existence: R-F-P. Request for Proposals have historically been the way that large government agencies, public schools, and even private industries reign in costs. The idea is that if the vendors are required to have an “eBay-like” competition on pricing, the winner will most definitely be the purchaser.
This is not always the case. In fact, the RFP process can be a turn-off for many good vendors who do not want low yields. Moreover, RFPs extend the length of time needed to sign off on a contract and enlist many parts of the business for comparison. However, they do pose some benefits as well (exposure to new vendors, downward pressure on high pricing, etc), and are essentially here to stay. So what do you do if you are selling B-2-B, with a product you feel is truly unique?
Enter no-bid contracts. No-bid contracts are ways in which you can stand out from the crowd by having the purchase stipulate that you are the “sole provider” of the service you are offering. Typically in the form of a letter, these letters are called, “sole source provider letters.”
So how do you qualify for these letters. Fortunately, in most cases all you have to do is submit the letter to the purchasing agent. You want your letter to establish the name of your company, that you are the sole source provider, and the reasons why. Here are some of the most common reasons you would want your exemption to fit under:
- only your company has a product that will meet the projects needs or only one your company can do the work;
- the existence of an unusual and compelling urgency;
- your product or service is a public good (utility)
- your product or service is copyrighted or patented, or is a trade secret.
If you believe that your product and service fits within one of these parameters, you can justify skipping the RFP process in most situations quickly and easily. You can check out such an example here: LINK