Recently we looked at some State and Local Government and Public College Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Quote (RFQ) responses for printing products and services. We were trying to find out the range of prices and terms that are being submitted by commercial printers. What we found was that the range of prices for commodity cut sheet print offerings was very wide.
An interesting aspect of our research was not the prices submitted but the number of commercial printers who respond to blind bids where they know absolutely nothing about the buyer. For one RFP, there were 17 printers who provided detailed responses.
The bid response documents must have required hours of time from salespeople and estimators. There were eight different specific detailed print jobs that needed terms and prices. Though the lowest price printer did not win, the third lowest did. We suspect the winning printer had a relationship with the buyer.
The key question for many salespeople and commercial printers is whether it makes any sense to respond to a bid where there is no prior relationship.
For me, the answer is no. We have personally seen very few salespeople and commercial printers win blind bids. In the few instances where they did win, they did not make a reasonable profit. In this economy, simply responding to request for quotes where there is little or no business relationship is not a sustainable business strategy. It is better to spend time learning account requirements and building solutions that meet and solve business problems.