How To Deal With Competitive Bidding

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

In a race with the competitionIt’s obvious why companies go out to tender for work, as it offers them the most benefits with the least work. They know that you will cut your costs to try to beat your competition, and you often do.

What can you do to improve your chances of winning this most difficult of circumstances?

Firstly, gather all information you can about the decision-making process. Who will be involved? Get as close to them as possible and act as a surgeon, asking specific diagnostic questions that will help you achieve your goal of getting the buying criteria clear before you submit.

Then, find out who you’re competing with. You want to give a fair deal, and this knowledge will help you achieve that. It will help you design a bid so the differences between you and your competitors can be highlighted. This gives your decision-maker an easier choice to make.

You also require a summary after the bidding of who won, why and on what terms. This will help your marketing intelligence for future bids.

By the way, if they won’t give you any or all of the above information, think seriously whether you want to bid at all, because it might be indicative of how they will treat you after you win. Are you sure you would want to work with someone who has that mindset? Is it worth the hassle?

Then, when you submit the quote, try to deliver in person so you can explain any specific issues the prospect may have.

  • Get agreement on their needs and show how your solution will satisfy them.
  • Discuss the long-term viability of your offer and emphasise the added value items, like warranties and guarantees.
  • Get their buy-in throughout your presentation  and explain how you got to the price that you have offered.

If you didn’t win on this occasion;

  • Get feedback as quickly as possible on the selection criteria they used to make the decision
  • What price level did your competitor go in at? Was price the main issue?
  • Ask the prospect if there was anything you could have done differently to have earned the business
  • Write to the prospect thanking them for the opportunity this time, and confirm your interest in staying in touch
  • You could offer to become an alternative source of supply if things don’t go according to plan with their new supplier
  • Diarise follow-ups with the prospect to see how things are going with the new supplier and identify areas they may still not be happy with

If you find yourself in competitive bids often, it may be worth talking to your marketing department to create fact sheets and bid sheets that can be personalised for each bid you offer. That way, you are consistent and confident in what you can provide for your prospect. It gives you the benefit of creating special terms for prospects without spending too much time and effort on each one. And that can only be good for business!

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling

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Originally published: 13 August, 2010