It takes a 4-year old to Improve Your Bid!


It takes a 4-year old to Improve Your Bid!

Wow! It never ceases to amaze me just how much you can learn if you take the time to listen to the people around you.
Well, for sure I hear you say but what’s prompted this latest revelation and where are you going with it!

I’ve just returned from Brunei where I was running a four-day bid masterclass
with a group of people from Petroleum Brunei. I’ve got to admit that I knew little about the country before I went except that my father-in-law served there during the troubles in the 1960’s when he had to eat a monkey to survive in the jungle – but that’s another story!

So what did I find? A relatively small country but very neat and tidy with lots of rain forest and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They were all so polite and really interesting …and interested to learn. What surprised me is that many of them had trained in the UK and so knew where I live and the places I’ve been to.

But I’m getting off the point. On the third day I was shown a video by one of the delegates of his four-year-old son that I thought was amazing and a real eye opener. So I used it straight after when we restarted the workshop as an example of the approach a good bid manager should take when responding to any new opportunity. It was relevant because we were discussing the Vision 3Ps Process that many of you will already know about and that I often refer to in my posts and definitely use when writing a bid.

For those of you who haven’t heard about it before; the 3Ps are simply the Problem, the Product and the Purpose.

  • The Problem is the issue that your potential client wants to solve and the reason why they have come to market because they can’t do it in house and are looking for help.
  • The Product, or put more simply your goods or services, are the tools, methods or approach you use to solve problems for your clients. You will be used to tailoring your solutions to suit the particular problem(s) your client wants to fix.
  • And finally, the Purpose is the benefit or outcome that your potential client wants to achieve when you’ve finished. This can often be so much more than the issue they state in the tender and link into a much broader picture.

In the workshop, we were discussing a common issue I find with almost all the bids I read. Bidders are usually good at understanding the issues their client wants to overcome and even better at proposing solutions to fix them using their palette of products. But where they stop is giving a proper explanation of what their solution will do for their client and how it will meet their overall objective or ambition.

Without this explanation it’s not be clear why your potential client should pick you and what they will get from working with you…and if they are confused about that then your bid is likely to fall on deaf ears and you could lose out!

So going back to the video, what can a four-year-old boy tell us about writing a bid?
Well, he was travelling in the car with his mum to visit a friend where he was going to play outdoors with his friend’s new sit-on car. The problem was that the roads were very busy and they got stuck in a traffic jam.

The four-year-old summed the situation up brilliantly by saying, “mummy, that car in front is in the way and if we had a tow truck we could move it to the side so I can get to my friend’s house quicker and play on his car.”

Why was this brilliant? Because he identified the Problem and what was causing his delay; he came up with a good solution (his Product) that would fix the problem and enable him to get on his way; and, he said what the Purpose was in that he could get to his friend’s house and start playing which was what he really wanted to do, but couldn’t because of the car!

Not only that, but he also said who needed to complete the task…

“he and his mum would tow the car to the side of the road

Just brilliant!

Action Step

So next time you’re writing a bid and you stop to review what you’ve written and whether you’ve answered the question fully, take a little time to think about the video of this little boy.

Do a quick check to see if you’ve followed his example and set out the three important steps of communication that will take your client on a journey of discovery so they can understand what’s in it for them from using your goods or services. It just makes it so much easier.




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