Why buyers make the wrong decision

Competitive tenders don't always result in the best decision. Buyers go for what LOOKS like the best decision - on paper – which sometimes proves to be the wrong one.

If you've ever lost a bid you were certain you would win, been shocked by who the buyer actually DID choose instead of you, and seen that supplier go on to deliver (predictably) inferior work and results, you are definitely not alone. 

Professionals are often uncomfortable about parading their wares for money, and that’s what a tender can feel like.  In an ideal world, buyers would offer you an alternative way to show them what you can do – one that actually helps you demonstrate your best work.

For instance, if you’re an architect, how much more comfortable would you be if you were allowed to let your work speak for itself in a design competition, rather than preparing a 100 page tender response?

But of course, buyers often choose the easier option and run a tender instead.

Competitive tenders are an unnatural, artificial and uncomfortable way for professionals to sell themselves. Unfortunately, they are a reality, so we need to find a way to do our best work within them.

It all starts with your business development culture. The most successful business development culture for a services firm is one that feels natural and comfortable; supports how your smart people think best; and gets them energised and excited by the opportunity first.

When you do have to prepare a tender, think about creative ways to bring out the best in what you can do. Include infographics, use interesting case studies, and offer the buyer a taste of the great things that happen to people who make the smart choice to work with you. You'll win more business, more often, and have more fun doing it.

Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant specialising in business won through formal bids, tenders and proposals. She is the author of two books on proposals and sales, including Winning Again: a retention game plan for your most important contracts and customers. Read more about it here.