Cutting the crap, gaining trust and selling value: the hot topics of 2018

As the year draws to a close, many business development teams are working harder than ever and are looking forward to a well-earned break.

This year, I ran a study into supplier experiences of competitive tendering and dealing with procurement.  

The resulting comprehensive report, Smiling But Sinking, shows that competitive tendering is increasingly challenging and difficult for suppliers, mostly in ways that are entirely preventable. You can read a summary of the findings in SmartCompany.

Thanks for following me, and for reading The Winning Pitch this year. I wish you a Merry Christmas, a safe and happy holiday break – assuming that you’re getting one! – and hope that Santa brings you lots of business in the New Year.

If you missed them, here are the five top articles from my fortnightly business development blog The Winning Pitch in 2018, covering everything from avoiding waste to selling the value in what you do.

#1 - Crap in, crap out

Apparently, Swearing is Good For You: it’s even the title of a new book published earlier this year. That’s good news for bid managers, because this year’s hottest topic has been plaguing us forever. What can you do if you keep getting a huge dump of crappy content at the last minute, from the very people in the business that you are trying to win work for? Read the article to find out.

#2 - Why buyers don’t trust you – and what to do about it

In situations that are totally predictable, the question of trust does not arise. In buying and selling situations – by nature highly unpredictable – trust is always going to be a problem. In this article, I’ve adapted social psychologist Robert F. Hurley’s Decision To Trust model for the inherently distrustful world of proposals.

#3 - How long should your proposal be?

Good question, here’s the answer: ‘only as long as it takes to get you hired.’ If you think that’s easier to say than to do, you’d be right. Read on to find out why getting the size and scale of your proposal right is more important than ever, but also one heck of a challenge.

#4 - Building your proposal muscle

While learning comes from many sources, the most effective learning comes from doing; provided you already know what to do. This article explains five ways to build your proposal muscle after attending proposal training. If you or your team needs training, or could use a refresher, make sure to book into my 2019 Master Classes in Writing Winning Tenders and Proposals before all the spots are gone.

#5 - Because you’re worth it

When you sell complex services, the real enemy is not a customer’s demand for the lowest price. It’s having them understand the value of your product in the first place. This article explains why customers often ask about price before you know enough to give them an answer, and how to help them understand the cost impact of what they’re buying in a way that goes well beyond the price.