18 speculations on why there was so much silence during a bidders’ conference call with many law firms
Having just conducted a conference call for numerous law firms invited to respond to a lengthy Request for Proposal, I ruminated on why there were only a handful of questions. Some possible reasons came to mind, which I have listed somewhat in declining order of their likelihood as explanations.
- With only ten days to prepare, the firms did not have enough time to read, digest, and develop questions regarding the RFP.
- The participants did not want to give away their innovative and good ideas by asking a question.
- Everyone wanted to hear what others would ask but chose to hold their own cards close to their chest.
- The email questions submitted and answered before the call (more than 40) were sufficient.
- Too many waited until the last moment to read and think about the RFP.
- No one wanted to appear dumb before the prospect with an infantile question.
- No one wanted to appear dumb before their peers or supervisors who were also on the call.
- The presenters from the company did not give adequate opportunities for questions (despite almost pleading and enduring long periods of silence and praising questions).
- The callers did not know what other firms were on the call and that had a chilling effect.
- The mix of partners and marketing people on the call dissuaded both from opening their mouths.
- The RFP was so complete and clear that it required no significant clarification or amplification.
- The RFP was so poor – jumbled, fragmentary, poorly written, confusing – that the befuddled partners did not know where to begin with questions.
- Shyness quieted the group of 50+ partners and marketers.
- Those on the call did not trust the anonymity promised them.
- These major US firms, of which there were many, were not familiar or comfortable with the conference call format.
- People felt obliged to call in, punch in, but didn’t really care.
- The attendees deep down resented the demeaning process and their representatives refused on principal to legitimate it with questions.
- The callers could not figure out how to press the unmute button.