Fortunately, for most businesses, the scale of the trust-building task is not as daunting as it is for our major banks. Given the recent history of apparently reckless gambling, PPI mis-selling and interest rate fixing, they might need the skills of a Medieval Alchemist to turn that sort of base metal into reputational gold.
The thing about trust is that it’s hard to win, easy to lose and then, oh so difficult to regain. For businesses trying to win contracts through bids and tenders the issue of trust is not so much about honesty and probity, it has much more to do with giving the commissioning body total confidence in your ability to deliver. But the points about being hard to win and easy to lose still apply. Alongside scoring systems and technical judgements you need to convince the client that you can be trusted with the contract and to do what you say you will. The bidding process is an exercise in gaining and reinforcing this trust.
I see trust building as a mixture of ‘personal’ and ‘operational’.
Bids and Tenders: Personal Trust
So often I hear businesses say: ‘We know we’re not the best at presenting, but we know our job and our track-record speaks for itself.’ If only life were that simple and that fair! Like it or not, the commissioning body will, sometimes subconsciously, be forming a judgement and deciding whether they can trust you, every time they have contact with you and throughout your presentations.
Bids and Tenders: Operational Trust
If you recently lost a tender that you had a reasonable expectation of winning, ask yourself this question: Did we really do everything we could to earn the trust of the client? Did we work hard enough to convince them we were the best, most reliable bidder?
And for your next opportunity try looking the tender as a process of building the client’s trust; in you as individuals, in your organisation’s capabilities and in your solution. This is an area where support from an impartial professional coach can really pay off. Surely it’s better for me to tell you that your bid document or presentation is unconvincing, while we still have time to do something about it.
Hugh Graham, The Bid Coach
I help business professionals develop their ability to win business through persuasive and memorable presentations. Call (01963) 240555 to discuss how I can help you with professional presentation skills coaching. Visit our website www.thebidcoach.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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