Competition is coming

No matter where you are in the procurement cycle, one thing that you can be sure of is competition. Whether it's from the customer putting your business out to tender again, or from competitors pushing their own agenda, competition never really goes away.

Yet the way we approach the certainty of competition says a lot about our likelihood of future success.

In her book Mindset, psychologist Dr Carol Dweck explains the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. Those with a growth mindset, like champion athlete Michael Jordan, find success through learning and improving. Others with a more fixed mindset regard success as “establishing their superiority”. As a result, while growth-minded athletes see setbacks as a motivating wake-up call, those with more fixed mindsets give up because they are scared to lose.

One way our mindset is evident in business is in how we engage with customers over the life of a contract. Suppliers with a fixed mindset are full of nervous energy when submitting the tender response, in a flurry of activity when getting the contract set up and hit a flat line of delivery over the course of the contract until the Request for Tender arrives again. On the other hand, suppliers with a growth mindset are always bringing new ideas to the customer – not just when they’re obliged to.

As we end the month of January and are about to run full tilt into the rest of the year, it’s time to engage your growth mindset. What do you know about your most important customers' plans for 2015? What big items do they have on their agenda this year? How can you help them achieve success with these? How can you be ready for events that are going to shape and change their business? When you already have the business, these are not challenges to be fearful of – they are exciting opportunities that will help you win again.

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 http://www.winningwords.com.au/winning-again/