Scouting for an RFP: Tips for Choosing Your Next Vendor Relationship

August 4th

Scouting and finding a new vendor can be a daunting task, enough to make you stick with a dysfunctional one….almost. Don’t be tempted to fall into the dysfunctional trap, though, because finding and experiencing those vendor “matches made in heaven” will simplify almost every aspect of the trade show planning process and will make your trade show experience much more enjoyable.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Step-by-Step Guide For Choosing Your Next Vendor Relationship

Take a deep breath, gather your courage, and consult this mini-guide which will lead to you vendors with whom you can form positive, career-long professional relationships.

Value Word-of-Mouth Referrals. Internet searches are lovely, but they can’t ever give you the personalized details you need to make your final decision. Over the course of the next couple trade shows, start conversations with other exhibitors about their preferred vendor(s) in question. If you hear the same name come up more than once, that’s an excellent sign. Get referrals from other exhibitors who have similar needs to yours and who value the same qualities in a vendor. From there, you can build a potential vendor contact list.

Draft a Top-Notch RFP. We’ve all experienced the frustration of dealing with vague clients or prospective customers who never seem to know exactly what they want or need. Thus, you don’t want to be that kind of client yourself. Draft a thorough RFP that includes all the information a vendor would need to know, including your company’s culture, image, show schedules, timelines and budgets. The more detailed and organized it is, the better a vendor will be able to draft a pertinent proposal and the easier it will be for you to do line-by-line comparisons when all the proposals are in.

Establish Uniform Comparison Metrics. Create a comparison metrics guide so you always comparing apples-to-apples, based on what factors or features are most important to you and your brand.

Use an RFP Management App. Keep your system as efficient as possible by taking advantage of an RFP Management App. It will eliminate all the paper shuffling and manual organization, providing a one-portal stop to make vendor comparisons and selections based on your established metrics..

Look Through the Surface. Do your own research to ensure your prospective vendors are on the up-in-up in terms of financial viability, insurance and applicable licensing requirements and how they handle the contractual details. Hiring a fly-by-night company won’t do you any good. has designed cloud based trade show planning software, including an RFP Management App that simplifies the vendor selection process. Contact us to learn more.

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