Much of your business success has probably been built on personal contacts, direct knowledge of your clients and the relative directness of their purchasing procedures. Relationships are critical.
But nothing stays the same. The world has become more competitive. Clients want ‘more for less’ and may decide at any time to explore beyond existing relationships. They want to see if there are better ways to meet their business needs.
How would you know if this was happening to you?
You might find you have a client who suddenly becomes much more aloof, distant and formal in their communications. It doesn’t necessarily mean they no longer want to work with you, but it could still indicate a threat.
Equally, you might have a prospect that you can’t get close to, to find out first-hand what they really wanted. Both examples could be strong indicators that they are putting their business out to tender.
They want to see what different solutions and providers are available and at what cost. To do this objectively they need to create a bit of ‘professional distance’ between themselves and incumbent or potential suppliers.
Would you read the signs? And how would you go about convincing them that “you were the ones”?
You could tell them about every service you provide (or have provided to them in the past) so they are aware of your total capabilities. This might work, but probably won’t. For one thing they may well provide you with a form to complete that doesn’t allow you to cover everything because of the questions they ask or lack of space. You might even struggle to understand why they are asking some of the questions in the first place.
If they are seeking to measure different prospective suppliers across a range of capabilities, past history might not be relevant – unless it demonstrates your experience and expertise in an area that is relevant to their current challenges.
You might look at the tender documents and wonder what half of it had to do with the project or service the client was tendering for. You can be sure they are asking everything for a purpose that means something to them.
You’d be taking a massive risk if you treat the ‘apparently irrelevant’ questions less seriously than the ones related directly to the products or services being tendered for. Most contracts are won by a margin of fewer than 2 points so not scoring well on a single question could cost you the business.
What are your core skills?
When you find yourself in the situation of having to submit a tender, where will you look for the expertise you need? Is it inside your organisation? Or is winning business through tenders a skill (or set of skills) in its own right and distinct from your technical competence?
No-one knows your business as well as you do. Where external coaches add value is that we are experts in business winning; just as you are experts in your chosen area of business. You understand what you do and we understand how to position your solutions to make them stand out from your competitors.
If the solutions are highly technical, we look to make them easier to read and understand for the assessors. They often don’t have the same level of technical knowledge as you do.
You may be the best at what you do. You may have a unique competitive advantage. But if your prospect doesn’t recognise this, or can’t find it among all the technical detail, your advantage is lost. It adds no value to your proposition.
At the Bid Coach we have the resources and experience of writing winning tender documents to help you position your proposals to ensure that they read well, are easy to score and are awarded the highest marks for your technical and quality solutions.
We’re so confident that we are prepared to share some of the financial risk if you engage us. We will charge you a percentage of the real time cost we incur, with a win bonus when you secure the contract.
To discuss this or any aspect of the above please contact me via [email protected] or ring Hugh on 01963 240555
I have many years of senior sales and account management positions.
This experience taught me how to interpret exactly what clients are seeking, and what they need and expect to see and hear from the successful bidder. We draw on this experience to give your team an additional competitive advantage by building on their existing strengths while improving their team-working and self-awareness.