The Silver Bullet – How RFPS Are Won

The solution for writing – and winning – RFPs is finally here. 

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  • Publication date: August, 2018
  • Pages: 107
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-338-6


"Nancey hit the nail on the head. All lawyers and legal procurement/sourcing specialists need to read this book. It is packed full of solid advice on how to respond to RFPs by focusing on the client's needs. Law firms would also greatly benefit from the admonition in this book."

Vincent Cordo, Jr. Central Legal Operations Officer

“Nancey understands legal procurement and provides unique insight into the thinking and practices of strategic legal sourcing. This book is filled with great advice when responding to RFPs. It covers many strategic gems designed to increase win rates. Both legal procurement/sourcing professionals and law firms will benefit by applying the practical wisdom presented in this book.”

Justin Ergler, Director, Alternative Fee Intelligence and Analytics at GlaxoSmithKline


All law firms and proposal writers are looking for the silver bullet to win more Request for Proposals (RFPs).

Over the years, author Nancey L Watson has used her expertise with procurement and pricing methods and applying strategy for hundreds of proposals to win $3 billion in competitive bids.

Her forthcoming new book The Silver Bullet – How RFPs Are Won will serve as a strategic guide to help you significantly increase your win rate – and more.

The Silver Bullet details Nancey’s top strategies for every step of the proposal process:

  • How legal procurement impacts law firm selection – a strategic approach
  • Questions firms should ask before they decide to propose for the work;
  • Best practices and how to analyze a “cheat sheet” to discover the key to winning RFPs;
  • How to get you to plan strategically through every phase of the proposal process;
  • How to use the magical formula to gain credibility and prove you are the firm to hire;
  • How to work strategically with subject matter experts as a team; and
  • How to write an effective executive summary.

This book is primarily written for law firms but the information within will also prove invaluable for procurement professionals.


"The Silver Bullet is a must-read for anyone managing or writing proposals in the professional services arena.  Nancey is a proposal strategist who keeps the client’s needs front and center with those preparing the proposal and with practitioners themselves.  It is also a fantastic resource with practical tools for the reader.  Applying the approaches outlined in Nancey’s book will lead winning strategies!"

Tracey Bodnarchuk, former CMO, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP


“This book shows that Nancey “gets it” when it comes to responding to RFPs. Her understanding of legal sourcing and legal ops is evident in the strategic advice she provides to in-house lawyers and law firms.”

Richard Brzakala, Global Legal Operations and Outsourcing Expert 



Executive summary

About the author

Chapter 1: How legal procurement impacts law fi rm selection – a strategic approach 
The role of legal procurement
Why proposals lose

Chapter 2: The go/no-go decision – strategic considerations
Return on investment 
Checklists and process charts
Pre-determined RFPs 

Chapter 3: Analyzing the RFP to identify strategies 
Procurement’s RFP process
Your win themes are buried in the RFP 
Answer the questions
Evaluation/selection criteria
Procurement’s scoring process 

Chapter 4: Working strategically as a team
The role of the proposal manager/team
Working with the proposal manager
The role of lawyers 
Working with lawyers
The role of subject matter experts
Working with subject matter experts 

Knowledge management
Legal project management 
Proposal management strategies

Chapter 5: Doing your homework to identify strategies
Internal research 
Competitive intelligence

Chapter 6: Kick-off meeting strategies .
Before the kick-off meeting
The kick-off meeting 
After the kick-off meeting

Chapter 7: Different strategies for proposal size and timeline 
Informal pitch/credentials
Formal RFP response

Chapter 8: Strategy – needs, solutions, outcomes, and proof 
Win themes 
Strategies for an existing client 
Outcomes/benefi ts 
“So what?” 
Things you say about your fi rm
Things your clients and vendors say about your fi rm
Third party comments 

Chapter 9: Differentiation – the key to your strategy
Differentiation strategy: questions to consider
Services-based differentiation 
What clients want
Outcomes/benefi ts
Added value 
Image differentiation – branding 
Negative strategies and positive strategies
Negative strategies = fear 
Positive strategies = gain

Chapter 10: Writing a strategic executive summary
The highest score wins 
Needs/issues – you get it 
The solution – you’ve got it 
The outcome/benefit – you define it
The proof/evidence – you can do it 
Differentiators – you can always differentiate

Chapter 11: Effectively using red teams to verify strategies
Right people – right thing – right time
Role of the red team
Right people
The right thing

Full Overview


Nancey L Watson
Nancey L Watson, BEd. is president of NL Watson Consulting Inc. She has helped professional services firms win over $3 billion in competitive bids. For nearly three decades she has worked with Big Four accounting firms, Top 10 engineering firms, and since 2012 has worked almost exclusively with global, national, mid-size, and boutique law firms in Canada and the United States on proposals and presentation strategies. She is an internationally recognized speaker who presents on topics such as pricing tactics, pricing masterclass, legal procurement’s impact on law firm selection at in-house and law firm conferences including Thomson Reuters, Law Firm Marketing Partner Forum, Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Conference and In-House Counsel World Summit, LawVision Group, Practice Partners Roundtable, and Legal Marketing Association, Eastern Canada Regional Conference. Nancey is the creator and facilitator of the workshop: Strategic Proposal Management© 2018. The training session results in proven strategies on how to increase win rates in today’s highly competitive marketplace. She is also the presenter of the Accredited Continuing Professional Development/Continuing Legal Education Course (two hours), How Procurement Impacts Law Firm Selection. As a contributing author for Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute she has articles published on procurement and law firm strategies and several podcasts on the Legal Executive Institute website. Between 2008 and 2012, she acted as the membership committee chair and board member for the legal marketing association, Toronto chapter, and is presently membership committee chair for Toronto. Nancey can be reached via email at the NL Watson Consulting website.

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