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Some contractors issue a lot of proposals, even if they know nothing about a particular RFP and they are not specifically qualified to do the work. I've heard the following reasons advanced:

1. Companies that are quite unqualified win work all the time.  We really have no idea how the government picks winners. We could get lucky too. (The "lottery ticket" theory of bid qualification.)

2.  We can't tell what the government wants from reading the RFP.  We'll tell them they want to buy what we sell, and they will see we are right and give us the work. (The "magical thinking" theory of bid qualification.)

3. Even if we know we won't win, if our proposal is beautifully written and designed, we will leave a good impression on the reviewers' minds, and they will remember us favorably when we submit a proposal for which we are better qualified (The "birthday card" theory of bid qualification.)

Those of you that regularly review proposals - what's your opinion of the last idea?

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that's a very expensive birthday card

responding to RFIs, sending capabilities statements, networking with contacts, and even cold-calling are preferable 

also, how do you know the reviewers will be the same for your "real proposal" opportunity?

 

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A smart boss I had once told me that he shot for an 80 percent win rate. He said that if the company was winning less than 80%, then the bid/no-bid decision process wasn't working properly. He also said that if the company was winning more than 80%, then it wasn't stretching enough.

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“we will leave a good impression”.  If the proposal isn't at least decent it'll be remembered as the pretty one that wasted the CO/PM’s time causing negativity bias.

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On ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 6:39 PM, contractor100 said:

3. Even if we know we won't win, if our proposal is beautifully written and designed, we will leave a good impression on the reviewers' minds, and they will remember us favorably when we submit a proposal for which we are better qualified (The "birthday card" theory of bid qualification.)

This could have the reverse effect, where the agency employees groan anytime they see your name because their CO forced them to review a proposal that was an obvious waste of their time. 

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Reminds me of a response we received to an RFI. The company didn't respond with any relevant information, but instead provided a sales pitch for a software product they were selling; telling us how we could benefit from it. For those of us who had to review the response, it did not leave a positive impression on us, much like receiving spam or junk mail.

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