Nobody’s perfect – we all make mistakes.
But avoiding mistakes during RFP season is a bit like crossing a field of landmines without getting hurt: seemingly impossible.
Which makes sense. It’s a hectic time of year. You’re working against the clock, your competitors, your own best interests and one of the most unpredictable industries in the world: logistics.
We’re in the business of supporting broker’s businesses. We see the RFP season crunch cause brokers to stumble into recurring speed bumps. To make sure you’re not one of them, here’s five of the most common mistakes we see brokers make when they bid.
Bidding on every lane
It’s tempting to think you can strongarm your way to success by taking a quantity over quality approach. Don’t do it. Shippers are looking for good fits with their transportation providers, so ignoring network balance sets you up for poor outcomes and frustration. Bidding on lanes you’re unable to service properly affects your profitability. And if you secure a lane you aren’t prepared to service, shippers may not be too keen to work with you again.
Not accounting for seasonality
Logistics is a seasonal industry. What seasons are coming up? What are shippers planning for? Take a peak at weekly and monthly volumes to identify seasonal trends that inform your bidding process and create a strategy that accounts for these peaks and valleys in the market. You’ll increase your chance of future profitability by thoughtfully bidding, which means making sure you’re zooming out and seeing the market’s big picture.
We get it – no one likes to dig through the fine print, but when it comes to growing your business, it’s a smart move. We see it all the time – bidding teams get into a rush and skate right by important details, causing them to lose out on a bid. Or perhaps worse, they win the bid while overlooking a key detail that affects your ability to service that lane, like tight hours of operation at the receiver, for example. Read the fine print to catch any hidden details so you’re not caught off guard.
Assuming the lowest bid always wins
As an extension of our quality over quantity strategy, shippers are looking for the right partner, not necessarily the cheapest bidder. It makes more strategic sense to find a long term, reliable, consistent partner than it does to award a lane to a cheap stranger. It’s not uncommon for shippers to pay more in exchange for predictability and reliability, so don’t sell yourself short. Shippers often view low bids as a candidate for frequent tender rejection. Bid with confidence.
Not communicating internally
With something as detailed, important, and time-consuming as bid season, you can’t afford to be tripped up by poor internal communication. Give yourself space to do thorough work by understanding and communicating about all the deadlines for the project. Scrambling to fill an RFP at the last minute can undermine your own hard work and cost you a chance at long-term business.
In short, resist the urge to work fast during RFP season. Your future self, business, and partners will thank you for taking the time to be thorough, thoughtful, and intentional with your bids.