Luxury Coach & Transportation

September 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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OPERATIONS Bill Faeth spoke with Nina Parson and Mike Barreto about using time wisely when pursuing requests for proposals at his Limo University LAB Live event. By Lexi Tucker, LCT associate editor N ASHVILLE, Tenn. — Limo University Founder Bill Faeth moderated a talk on request for proposals (RFPs) with Mike Barreto of Eagle Chauffeured Services in Brookhaven, Penn. and Nina Parson of Company Car and Limousine in Cleve- land, Ohio that focused on how to tell when pursuing `new business is worth the work required. To RFP Or Not To RFP? Faeth said "how do I get into the RFP game?" is one of the top 10 questions he receives from operators. "I tell everybody you don't want to be. I think there's a lot of marginalization based on price. ey're very time consuming to have to put together. A lot of them are very robust." However, if you're going to go after RFPs, there are a few techniques that could make the hustle more worthwhile. Faeth advocates creating templates. "To create efficiency, have you taken all past RFPs won or lost and created your own templates to expedite the process when you're doing a different RFP? I'm not saying you're just going to template and submit it; you're going to customize, but this makes it easier and quicker." Parson said she doesn't just have a template for an RFP, but close to 50 tem- plates saved in her email as responses she can customize. "You often get the same answers, or you hear the same thing if somebody's price driven. You need to have a price-driven response on how to beat that out because you're not going to be the cheapest person in the pool." She monitors what is being said, what customers seek, and how to overcome objections. "I came from the hotel industry. I was a regional director of sales. I'm used to 30 or 40 other hotels in the same area. You have to know how to gauge and sell your property better than the rest, and I brought that experience into this position." One thing he likes about RFPs is how there is a rhythm to how they come out, Barreto says. "Most people now in pro- curement have gone the way of using the template the GBTA has put out for the RFP which is about eight years old. It makes it a lot easier to understand the flow because they don't add their little wrinkle or variation specific to the markets they're looking for. But overall the template's usually the same." Electronic RFP vs. Creating And Sending A Proposal e process for creating an RFP is intense. "ey need to know every little minute piece of information. But a pro- posal is really just advertising your busi- ness. You're sending out your marketing piece and explaining the value of the pricing. It's different from the deep down details you need on an RFP. On many of my proposals, I send my insurance infor- mation as part of my packet; that's not any extra work for me. But for the RFP process, you have to be prepared to give as much detail as possible because that's what they're looking for," Parson said. Barreto finds it's best to not over- extend yourself on RFP questions and answers. "Don't give more than they're asking, because travel managers will look at it first and then it goes to pro- curement, and procurement's made up of a bunch of number crunchers and analytics people. So they'll look, and if your answer doesn't conform to what everyone else in the RFP is answering, they'll disqualify you." He compares RFPs to knocking on the door of an unknown person's house. em accepting an RFP and going to the next phase is getting them to open the door. "You're going to be knocking a lot and no one's going to open the doors for you. Give them information that pertains to what they are looking for — their expectations and what you want to give. For proposals, I close much more on them than I do going through the RFP process because I'm getting that interaction with the actual key buyers. ey want to hear exactly what value your company will provide. ey want to know what makes you different from everybody else. e RFP is really semantics in this day and age." — Lexi@LCTmag.com 3 6 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION SEPTEMBER 2018 (L to R) Bill Faeth brought up operators Nina Parson and Mike Barreto to discuss the proper and most efficient way to deal with RFPs (Photo credit: Blake Russell). For the full version of this article, use the search bar on lctmag.com and type in the term LAB Live How To Correctly Deal With RFPs

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