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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