A friend, colleague, “one-of-the-gang when we’re at APMP” (no names here but she’s works in the St. Louis area, is a very talented poet as well as proposal writer and she prefers NOT to be called “Sandy”) recently wrote and posed the question, under the subject/title, ‘Tomatoe, Tomaato?’:
Which would you rather see in an RFP response?
“…twenty-five (25) blah-blah blahs..” or “… 25 blah-blah blahs…”
“I know the answer. I do, I do. I know it.
Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me!
Aw c’mon. Let me answer!”
I replied with (again trying to be clever. Jury’s still out as to if this was indeed viewed that way):
“The answer is….
(Wait for it) – scroll down
A question actually (scroll further)
With which style is the customer most comfortable? Confirmation/indicators of this would be the RFP, previous correspondence, website style, press releases or the best way. Ask them!
How’d I do Ms. Spooner?
Jon then replied as follows:
“Not fair: the whole game got played overnight UK-time, so I was asleep at the time! (Being good like that, and not having to work on proposals until the early hours of the morning. This week, at least!)
I want a recount: I think I disagree with BJ. (BJ’s note: Big surprise that, eh dear readers?) There are no circumstances in which a customer is so stupid as to need reminding that “twenty-five” is actually the same as “25”. Even if they feel in their RFP that their bidders are so challenged as to need the extra clue.
Interestingly, this often comes up when I’m training purchasing folks. We see this “twenty-five (25)” in their RFPs, and I ask why they do it. They all seem surprised, then slightly embarrassed, then confess that they have no clue whatsoever why they do it. I think it’s probably just force of habit, picked up from spending too much time with contract lawyers – without stopping to think about the difference between the body of the RFP and the Ts and Cs.
Please, miss, can we blog about this exchange?!