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What's the Difference Between Solicited and Unsolicited Proposals?

A solicited proposal is when the customer asks for a proposal, an unsolicited proposal is when you send them a proposal they haven’t even asked for.

Solicited proposals are usually sent to customers who issue a “Request for Proposal” or RFP. When a customer wants something that is too complicated to pick up at the store or order from a vendor, they often write down a description of it and issue it as an RFP.

A solicited proposal provides you with a description of what the customer wants. Many also provide you with formatting instructions for your proposal and the evaluation criteria that will be used to make a selection.

Sometimes you will make a suggestion to a potential customer and they will ask you to submit a proposal so that they can consider your suggestion. This counts as a solicited proposal because they are expecting it and you have a chance to talk to the customer and gain an understanding of their needs.

An unsolicited proposal is sent to a customer who has not requested it. Unsolicited proposals must be especially convincing since the customer has not anticipated, planned, or budgeted for the proposal. With an unsolicited proposal you run the risk that the customer won't even bother to read it, since they didn't ask for it. However, the lack of competitive pressure in an unsolicited proposal often makes up for the risk.


By Carl Dickson, Founder of CapturePlanning.com



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