If you have 300 years of combined experience, that’s a heck of a lot of knowledge sitting in your organisation that the customer would love to take advantage of. The problem is, you can't show them how in just one sentence.
There are basically three things that we can trade on when we sell.
Products.These exist in the present. Products, including service-based products like programs, are what we have available right now that the customer can take immediate advantage of.
Precursors. Precursors exist in raw form in the present, but have a huge impact on the future. In chemistry, a precursor is a compound that creates a chemical reaction and produces another (often more valuable) compound. In business, precursors are the things that we're working on right now — the innovations, the pilot programs, the new initiatives that we're bringing to the customer that will ultimately result in goodwill, good relationships and good outcomes for us and for them.
Artefacts. Artefacts belong very firmly in the past. An artefact is an object of cultural or historical interest. In business, artefacts are the projects we’ve done, the contracts we’ve delivered, the systems and processes we built years ago. And our 300 years of combined experience.
When you’re bidding for a long-term contract of three years or more, the most valuable things you can trade on are your products and precursors. Precursors are particularly valuable, because they are the inputs to future products; the essential compounds that help you create what you will deliver in the future. And most of us don’t have nearly enough of them.
Make no mistake, when you are pitching for a long term contract, you are not just selling what you have today. You are selling what you will have in three years’ time, or even further into the future.