Q. Recently, we received an RFP from someone that we are very interested in responding to. We have since tried on several occasions (5 phone calls and 2 e-mails in the past week and a half) to contact the CFO to obtain some additional information to no avail (the proposal is due next week). The RFP listed several decision makers but said all inquiries should be funneled through the CFO. The partner is ready to contact others listed in the proposal. Any ideas for how to proceed?
Kathy Lambardino, Hood & Strong LLP in San Francisco
A. Kathy, I wouldn't hesitate, at this point, to send a very nice and tactful letter, by courier, to the CFO saying:
"We are very interested in proposing services to you however we are unable to obtain information from you--after several phone calls and e-mails--that is critical to our presenting you with a meaningful proposal. If you wish to receive a proposal from [your firm], we need to speak with you for about 15 minutes to ask three questions [or list the questions]. If we don't hear from you by [day/time], we will have to assume you don't have an interest in receiving our proposal. This would be most unfortunate because we believe our experience in [fill in] would bring tremendous value to your organization. Additionally, we would consider it a privilege to work with [company]. Kind regards..."
Delivering by courier in a big, or boldly colored (urgent looking) envelope will probably catch his/her attention and will demonstrate you will do whatever it takes, without being obnoxious, to professionally accomplish your goal.
Unfortunately, you must go only through the CFO because 1) you were instructed to do so and following instructions is critical and 2) to go around the CFO would be undermining him or her thus starting the relationship (should you get the job) off on the wrong foot.
If you have an operational or marketing question pertaining to financial or legal services, send your question using the "E-mail Me" button under my pic with BLOG Q&A in the subject line.