Welcome to this training from Aidpreneur.com on negotiating contracts for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. I am Stephen Ladek, Host of the Terms of Reference Podcast and Principal at International Solutions Group.At this stage, you have already achieved quite a bit: you’ve created a system that identifies opportunities and makes sure that you always have new business to consider. You also have criteria that you use to decide what business opportunities that you will pursue – first, through a go/no go decision, and second, through a filtering and prioritization process. Then for the opportunities that you have decided to pursue, you’ve assigned management to one person and you have a consistent method for ensuring that you get all of the basics right so that you’re never cut out of an opportunity on a technicality. You’ve also assigned roles for developing your proposal and you’ve actually built the proposal for one of the selected opportunities, avoiding the most common mistakes – like grammatical errors – and tweaking and refining it to make sure that it’s the most competitive possible. Finally, you’ve actually submitted a proposal and, you or your company has been selected for the work. At this stage, you should really pat yourself on the back. Seriously. If you’ve made it to this point, you are part of a small elite group of independent professionals and small companies or NGOs who decided to make their mark in this business. And, if you’re like me, there is very little that can compare to the sweet taste of being notified you were selected among many proposals to perform important piece of work.
The notice that you’ve been selected is a road marker or milestone that signifies a very important process is now underway: negotiating your contract. One thing to be really, really clear about, is that this is not the start of negotiations. The negotiation of your work began when the tender was released, and it continued when you submitted your proposal. At this stage, after an award notice has been given, negotiation takes on a more formal nature and should focus on the details of the work you perform and the remuneration you will receive. I’ll also foreshadow a little bit here, because negotiation doesn’t end when you finally have an executed contract with your client – in my experience over the last decade, negotiation of the work that you’re doing continues all the way through the project until you’ve submitted your last deliverable, it’s been approved by your client and you’ve received your final payment.
While what I’ve just described has been a typical experience for myself and ISG, there is the possibility that the donor or client will accept your proposal “as is”. This has happened one or two times in my experience, so while it’s a rarity, it does happen. Because of this, you should always submit a proposal with a work plan and a budget that you are confident you are able to implement without change – just in case the client just says “yes.”
The goal of this training is twofold: to develop an understanding of how to first, negotiate substance and second, negotiate legalese. Negotiating substance is the conversation around the work that you’ll do – such as the technical solution, and your work plan, the staff that will implement your solution, and the finances required to perform the work – which includes both the cost of doing the work, and the overhead/fee that you will charge. Negotiating legalese is a discussion about the contract itself, the written words which you will be bound to, and the essential clauses to watch for.
In the next section, I’ll be diving into critical areas to consider when negotiating substance. Thank you for participating in this training on negotiation for RFAs, RFPs and RFQ’s here at Aidpreneur. Remember if you have any questions at all please contact us at training@Aidpreneur.com.