When I review bids for clients I am very aware of the ‘I’ and ‘me’ words in their documents…ugghhh, I hear you sigh, “we’ve heard this before but we can’t write without using those words.” And, of course you do have to talk about yourself because that is what the client is asking you to do.
But it’s not all they are asking and there is usually an unspoken ending to the generalised question of ‘what do you do?’ and that is…
“…how can it help me to achieve my aims or objectives or ambitions?”
Many companies get this wrong and risk alienating their client from the outset by talking about themselves without really understanding their client and what they want to achieve. Be careful though because this isn’t just the thing they want to create, or the goods they want to buy, or the service they need to be able to do something…this is about the ultimate goal that will make their life easier, grow their business, make them more profit or anything else that they are striving to achieve.
It’s important to remember that employing an external company is a big deal to your client, so you’ll need to be confident and demonstrate how the relationship will make your clients busy lives easier.
I urge my clients to give away valuable information in their bid (within reason!) and respond as if they had already won the contract…that way you’ll become someone who is known to be able and, importantly, willing to help as an expert in your field and without always charging.
Whilst being mindful on any page or word limitations, it is always a good idea to take your client on a journey of discovery. Start by identifying the problem they’re facing, which may be more than they actually think it is. For instance, if you discover asbestos in the buildings before demolition because the surveys were inadequate then you’ll have to wait. This might adversely affect the programme and the ultimate completion date if you can’t get on with something else, which might stop your client from opening their store or selling apartments or having classrooms ready for the new academic term.
The next step is to tell them how you can fix it – this is where most people feel comfortable because it’s the ‘me’ bit and what your client wants to hear at this stage. Describe what can do about the problem, when you’ll do it and how you’ll know it is done. You can talk about your goods or services, show previous examples and highlight key personnel that will complete the tasks.
And, here comes the big BUT!
If you only talk about what you do and not what your solution will do for your client then you could turn them off. Remember that this is all about what you can do for them and not about how great your company is. So join the dots to show how your solution will help them to achieve their goal. For those who regularly read my articles, you’ll recognise this as Vision’s 3Ps ProcessTM- the problem, the products (your goods or services) and the purpose (your clients objectives). Because it is so important you’ll find it’s the first module in our online training programme ‘Win More Bids’.
When you’re writing your response you will most likely describe many problems and provide many solutions that will meet your client’s objectives and there is nothing wrong in going through multiple iterations of problem, product and purpose. Just make sure that you complete the journey otherwise your client won’t understand what is in it for them.
When you get this right you build trust in the relationship and connect on a subliminal level. The result will be that you raise your game above trying to sell and position yourself ahead of your competitors with a greater chance of winning that contract.
Next time you start a bid think about the problem your client is facing and how your solutions will help them, to overcome it and achieve their objective. Use Vision’s 3Ps ProcessTM to guide narrative so that your clients journey consistently ends with their problems solved.
Until Next Time!
In the final issue we’ll consider the importance of gateway reviews and checking and re-checking your document so that it says exactly what you want it to say. This is intrinsically linked with managing your bid effectively and as a precursor I recommend that you download our free guide “Are You Bidding to Win or Bidding to Lose?’ where you’ll find valuable information the techniques that have helped out clients consistently win more bids…£6 billion in fact!