Building a bid is like building a house

Building a bid is like building a house. I’ve been lucky enough to build my own home twice in my life. It’s both the best experience you’ll ever have and one of the most challenging, in much the same way that bidding for business is.

Everything that everybody says about building a house is true. It’s time consuming, it’s stressful, and things will go wrong. Things will be built the wrong way and you will have to make compromises.

One of the major reasons why home building and bid building are both so stressful is because people just don’t follow the damn instructions.

I was walking past a building site in my area recently and overheard a group of five or six builders debating how to put something together on the home that they were working on. An older man, who might have been their supervisor or foreman, was standing back from the argument. Eventually he spoke up and he said, “Guys, why don’t we look at the plan.” All of the builders laughed uproariously and one of them actually said, “The plan! That’s for losers.”

This is pretty much the way that many incumbent suppliers feel when the Request for Tender comes out. It’s your account – you live it and own it – but the RFT is the customer’s plan, not yours. And it’s the customer’s instructions that you’re having to work through, just like everyone else. This can be frustrating and difficult.

Despite this, it’s important to produce a bid that is respectful of the instructions. At the same time, avoid focusing too much on compliance, particularly if this comes at the expense of your story and strategy – these are key to winning again.

This is an extract from Robyn’s new book Winning Again: a retention game plan for your most important contracts and customers. To order your copy, go to http://www.winningwords.com.au/winning-again/