How to use ChatGPT to Respond to RFPs

The Proposal template has been one of the top sellers on the site for many years. It provides a nice framework to write the actual proposal. But how about the other tasks before you get to the writing phase?

I mention this as I’m increasingly using ChatGPT for different writing related tasks. To be clear, I’m not asking it to write original text for me, rather to help with the support tasks, such as research, analysis, proofing, and validation.

This is the first in a series of articles on how to use ChatGPT – Google Gemini and Claude are just as effective – to refine your response to RFPs.

Checklist to use ChatGPT to Respond to RFPs

Here’s a suggested approach to use AI when responding to an RFP:

1. Initial RFP Analysis

  • Upload the RFP Document: Use ChatGPT to review the entire RFP document and summarize key requirements, deadlines, and evaluation criteria. If you use Claude, you can save all the files into a Zip file, and upload this for analysis. The zip file can include PDFs, spreadsheets, and Word docs.
  • Highlight Critical Points: Identify to the AI any mandatory requirements, compliance clauses, and any specific questions that need detailed responses.

2. Response Strategy Development

  • Template Creation: Develop a response template based on the RFP structure. ChatGPT can help draft an outline that includes sections such as Executive Summary, Technical Proposal, Management Plan, and Cost Proposal. You can also feed it the template we’ve created and ask it to add extra sections if necessary.
  • Content Customization: Provide tailored suggestions for each section based on the RFP’s requirements.

3. Drafting and Content Generation

  • Section Drafts: Use ChatGPT to draft responses for each section of the RFP. Ensure the content is aligned with the evaluation criteria and addresses all requirements. In other words, it can check section-by-section what you need to respond to and guide you through this process so you don’t overlook any sections.
  • Technical Details: Generate detailed technical descriptions, methodologies, and approaches based on your input and previous project examples. That is, you can feed it (input) previous proposals you’ve written up so it can reuse/adapt material from this in the current response.

4. Review and Refinement

  • Proofreading: Use ChatGPT to proofread the drafts, checking for grammar, spelling, and consistency. You can be very specific here. For example, tell it to make sure the writing is to a specific reading level, aligns with a particular style guide, and to flag inconsistencies. For example, color and colour entering the text which can happen if your team is providing content from different regions.
  • Compliance Check: Verify that all mandatory requirements and compliance clauses are addressed.

5. Final Assembly

  • Formatting: Ensure the document is formatted correctly and adheres to the RFP’s submission guidelines.
  • Executive Summary: Craft an executive summary that highlights your strengths and aligns with the client’s goals. Personally, I write this by hand but will ask ChatGPT to review it for style, tone, and grammar.

6. Submission Preparation

  • Review Checklist: Create a final review checklist to ensure all sections are complete and compliant.
  • Submission Guidelines: Confirm that the submission format, method, and deadline are adhered to.

In the next tutorial, we’ll look at how to use ChatGPT to analyze past RFP responses and identify areas for improvement and for competitive analysis on competitors’ submissions.