5 Pro Writing Tips for RFP Responses that Sell

December 16, 2014 • By
5 Pro Tips for RFP Ever feel like all the work your putting into your RFP responses may not be paying off? Maybe it’s all a numbers game anyway. Maybe it’s time to start throwing out canned answers just to get more done. Before you do, consider this: In a Stanford University study, psychologists pitted two headlines against each other: “Crime is a beast ravaging city of Addison” and “Crime is a Virus Ravaging the City of Addison.”
Never write a sentence you couldn’t imagine saying to someone.
After reading the headlines, people responded to questions about solving the crime problem. Those who heard the word beast were significantly more likely to want stronger enforcement than those who heard virus. What does this have to do with hotel meeting planner RFPs? It reminds you that how we write often impacts our results! If you were selling law enforcement in Addison, you’d write the word beast.  If you’re selling meeting rooms in your city, you’d follow these tips:

1. Skip the Sales Talk, Buzzwords and Exclamation Points

Your restaurants serve agriculturally correct fusion feasts! The sun pours into your meeting rooms at ergonomically correct angles! Your sentences make people tired and skeptical! As a writer, I’ve learned that when people write like this, it’s often because they are truly eager and excited about their property. So, if this tip sounds like you, don’t feel bad. It’s good to be proud of where you work. However, you need to take a step back. Read your writing aloud. Never write a sentence you couldn’t imagine saying to someone.

2. Write as if You’re Actually Enjoying It

You may have nine RFPs to respond to today along with 37 voicemails. The only good part about answering RFPs is no one can see you sneer as you type, right? Well, no... People can sense your mood when you write. The more rigid and stressed you feel the more uptight your response will sound. And that’s a problem in today’s culture. While some of us remember learning how to write a “proper business letter” in school, the proper business letter went out of style when the internet came into being. Most meetings take months or years to plan. If a planner can’t decide between your property and one in your comp set, the decision could come down to which salesperson they feel most comfortable with.

3. Use Their Language

Do a quick adjective scan of their RFP. Find words they use and use them back. You can find a planner’s values in their adjectives. If they’re looking for intimate meeting spaces, the word “intimate” resonates with them. Don’t try to get creative. Try to make a connection.

4. Show Don’t Tell

This is every writing teacher’s favorite piece of advice for a reason. Showing creates a memory for your reader. It adds credibility. Anybody can tell, but if you can SHOW, you can sell. Fortunately, technology has made showing easier than ever before. Instead of lists of amenities, include pictures of past productive meetings and happy guests. Create video testimonials and success stories from past meetings.

5. Ask Questions

Humans are conditioned to answer questions. Meeting planners, like hotel marketers, answer questions for a living. They can’t help it. If you ask a question, they’ll feel a need to answer it. The trick is: don’t think too hard about which questions to ask. It’s likely you have questions. Ask them and make sure you use question form. Instead of saying, “It looks like you want a larger space for the second day.” Ask, “Do you need a larger space for the second day?” Question marks stand out as items that need closure. Now it’s time to share. If this post helped you, share it in your favorite LinkedIn group. Or: Check out more ways to attract hotel meeting planners in 2015 About Tambourine Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com