The very survival of your agency rests in your success in winning new business. Yet everyone hates receiving RFPs.

Why? Because they require a huge investment in time and energy – and most often you don’t make the first cut, let alone win the business. After all, every agency will claim superior strategic thinking and more powerful creative – claims that are very difficult to substantiate without actually showing your work to the prospective client.

So you wallow in frustration that the decision will be made based on totally subjective judgments by people you never met.

There is hope.

One of the best ways to strengthen your answer to an RFP is to offer a clear, objective point of differentiation.

All clients are interested in how you will work with them. If you show them your client service extranet, they will not only see your commitment to client service, they will see precisely how you plan to organize their work. Put in their logo. Build folders structures that support precisely how you will organize everything for them. And tell them how much time they will save working with you, rather than with the other agencies mired in the stone age of email and FTP sites.

When you show them how easy the extranet makes finding all the work you have done, slip-in some of your best creative, even if they have stipulated that creative is not part of the response (after all, they have to look at something as they see how it works). Include a few comments date-stamped at odd hours – seeing a response from the agency at 2am can say volumes.

Most importantly, not only will showing the prospective client your extranet help you stand out and win the account, it will yield rewards into the future. Because in the final analysis, the whole point of using a client service extranet is to keep the business.

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