In my last article we went through the tendering process and how to get the best from your relationships with potential clients. Now we turn our attention to bid writing.
It is worthwhile spending time crafting a quality bid or proposal, as this will be the reference point on your offering when you are not in the prospect’s presence. I was very fortunate a few years ago to attend a workshop on Successfully Consultancy, hosted by the Institute of Directors, at which Harold Lewis shared some top tips on crafting a bid, which included:
- Do your research.
- Weigh up the competitive opportunity.
- Read tender documents thoroughly.
- Plan the bid writing process.
- Follow all clients’ instructions.
- Treat policy statements seriously.
- Focus on client priorities and your distinctive value.
- Justify everything.
- Be honest and realistic.
- Work on clarity.
I would like to add some further flavour to one of these tips, and then add one more.
So, firstly, preparation in general, and research in particular.
It pays to take every opportunity when you can interact with the potential client to glean more information and context. People buy people before they buy the service, so these are good opportunities to build empathy and rapport.
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes – what’s going on in their world? If you can ask questions that lead to outcome-based objectives, so much the better. In addition makes sure you study their website, and any social media activity in which they engage. Finally, look for any recent press coverage, which might give clues on what is going on in the business.
And the additional point. In terms of stakeholder management, do keep in mind that there may be more than one party involved in the recommendation/decision, and that they may have different agendas.
So, if you can, try to weave in something that plays to these different audiences, their issues and concerns, and the way in which they like to receive information. If this challenge strikes a chord, do feel free to contact me and we can develop it further. Next time we will look at presenting your bid.