Five universal buyer wants

Every buyer is different, but they share similar wants and desires. A commercially powerful bid strategy represents what the customer most wants, what we can best deliver and what positions us best against competitors at the time we make our bid.

Bid strategy is articulated through ‘win themes’, which I deliberately refer to as ‘purchaser value topics’. It's a subtle difference, but an important one. When we put time into thinking about what the purchaser will value, our ideas tend to be creative and generous, and more likely to help us win. The opposite of winning is, of course, losing, and when we use the language of ‘win themes’ we actually encourage thinking based on loss and scarcity.

Here are five universal buyer wants to consider when developing your bid strategy. How can your proposal deliver on these?

1.     Low risk, no risk, or reduction of risk. Risk comes in many forms – to reputation, to the success of a project, to costs, to people and even to the client’s business or operations. Identify as many risks as you can, and show you have a plan to minimise them.

2.     Innovation. Buyers like to know that you have ways to do things better or create better outcomes. Innovation usually needs to come with as little risk as possible.

3.     Good governance. Giving over control to a supplier can make buyers nervous. Instead of just showing your quality assurance status, be explicit in how you will measure and control performance and outcomes.

4.     Technology. All businesses, including government businesses, want to capitalise on available technology to make things faster, more connected and more transparent. If you have a technology solution that delivers this, make the most of it.

5.     Value for money. This doesn't just mean the cost of what they’re buying, but how useful it is. Emphasise the inherent value in what you already do and offer, as well as any specific cost savings you’ve developed for them. Value-adds, while they’re nice to have, are less commercially powerful.

Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant who helps helps service-based businesses that compete through bids and tenders to articulate the value in what they do, command a price premium, and build an offer that buyers can’t refuse. Don’t let others dictate how far and how fast your business can grow – take your power back! Email robyn@robynhaydon.com to request the white paper for the Beyond Ticking Boxes program.