We are starting the new year off right with an RFI best practices series that will take an in-depth look into RFIs. Last week Jenny posted about how data and preparedness are key for when you receive a request for information (RFI). This series will break down RFIs into sections and walk through the importance of each one and how to package it most effectively.
First off, I would like to start with the cover letter. There are two ways you can present your cover letter: 1) As your entire RFI response or 2) As a precursor to your RFI response. For this post we will use the second option, a precursor to your RFI response. This is your chance to make a good impression. This is the first thing a prospect will see in your RFI response. Not only is it important to address all of the company’s criteria, but to also give them an idea of what your community’s strengths are. The key is to provide clear, easy to read and understand information in a small yet appealing package.
Say the company is a manufacturer looking for a 10 acre lot, has high energy needs, requires rail and a workforce of 100 people. Let’s look at the draft below and see what the community could do to improve it:
Click Link: RFI Example Before Corrections
Here are a few ways this cover letter could be improved.
- To create branding for your community, your response should be on letterhead. For the most professional look create a template with your letterhead in Word and type each RFI response on it so it can be submitted as an attachment in your email.
- Address the Business Development Representative by name in the address block and again by first name only in the greeting.
- It is ok to put in a short paragraph on how great your community is but limit unnecessary information that does not apply to the company’s request. Once they have narrowed down their decision to include your community, then you can give them all the reasons why they should choose to live in your town.
- It is a good idea to make a bulleted list addressing all of the criteria they requested. If you currently can’t supply everything they are asking for, you still need to address it rather than leave it out (ex: no rail spur on site).
- Make sure that all attachments only include vital information such as price, size, location, etc. for properties and only data that pertains to their request (ex: only include commercial energy rates not residential). GOED provides workforce information so you do not need to include it in your response. We will go into how to package this information in the next segment of this series.
- Try to keep your response as short and to the point as possible as the process of elimination goes very quickly in site selection.
- Make sure you have listed your full contact information at the end of your letter (name, address, phone number, email, and website).
Now let’s take a look at the cover letter example after applying some of these tips:
Click Link: RFI Example With Corrections
Check back soon for the next segment in this RFI best practices series! For more information about RFIs click the RFI tab at the top of this page.