Woman having a date at a table with a laptop.By Mandy Bowers

My husband and I were engaged after a six-month courtship. We were introduced by a mutual friend and our first date was at a coffee shop. We pushed past the first date jitters and ended up talking for hours, finding things we shared throughout our conversation. Josh and I had the benefit of meeting before smartphones were prevalent—dating was awkward enough before the advent of mobile apps and dating sites. I can’t imagine navigating swiping left or right to find someone. (Which way is “yes,” by the way?)

The request for proposal (RFP) procurement process is like dating in the digital age. You write your profile (the RFP), including interests (project scope) and what you are looking for in a suitor (consultant). You then consolidate your information, upload everything, and wait for responses—putting yourself out there. Best case scenario: You get a handful of excellent matches to thoughtfully evaluate and select a match. Worst case: You get way too many responses (or too few) that don’t meet your needs.

While it can be entertaining to hear a bad date story, I think we all would rather avoid the personal embarrassment. Often, a bad date can leave you wondering: What could I have done better? Should I have updated my profile picture? Should I have worn something different? Did I talk too much/little? The answer isn’t in the questions you ask yourself but rather in the questions you ask your potential suitors.

Join me on August 11 for Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers; Improving Your RFP Procurement Process as part of IPMI’s 2021 Parking & Mobility Webinar series. I will address RFP myths versus realities, tips for writing an RFP, and RFP best practices. While I can’t guarantee you will find the love of your life, I will provide you with tools to help your procurement process pique interest for a perfect match.

Mandy Bowers is senior marketing specialist with Kimley-Horn. She will present on this topic during an IPMI Webinar on August 11; 1 CAPP point.  For details and to register, click  here.