Ian Brodie on Your Chances on Tenders and RFPs

Below is Ian’s take on tenders and RFPs. I reproduce his post here because I agree with him 100%.

I organise a monthly event with speakers for my fellow alumni of Manchester Business School. After this month’s event I was approached by one of the attendees asking for a bit of advice.He’d just started working for a firm offering leadership training and coaching and wanted to know the best sources of information on upcoming tenders and RFPs.We ended up talking about alternatives because honestly Caleb, waiting for tenders and RFPs to reply to is an awful strategy.It’s fine if you already know a client, you’ve built up credibility and trust and they approach you.But if you’re hoping to win a lot of business scouring websites and journals looking for open tenders you can bid on you’re really on to a loser.The mindset behind this thinking is “we’re great at what we do, if only we knew which clients needed our types of service we could speak to them and we’re bound to win some work”.Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.Turns out most of your competitors are great too. Or at least that’s what they say.And without a pre-existing relationship with your potential client, and stuck within the confines of a formal tender; your chances of proving you’re actually different and better are very slim.My advice: if you don’t already have a pre-established relationship with a client then looking for and replying to tenders is a mugs game.You’re much better off looking for opportunities to connect with potential clients about ideas and problems in the early stage, well before they go looking for a solution.If you take them a new idea that clicks, you’ll be in pole position to win that piece of work.If you take them a new idea that doesn’t click, you’ll still be positioned as someone who adds value and someone it’s worth speaking to; even if that specific idea wasn’t right for them.From there you can continue to build your relationship so that you get the inside track on future tenders if that’s what you want to go for.Much better than just being one of the bunch.

– Ian

PS To come up with ideas to proactively take to clients, check out the free “lead magnet in a weekend” course available as part of your $1 of Momentum Club here.

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What do you think? What strategies do you, or your company, use to manage the risk of fraud and error in your organisation? Are you primarily proactive or reactive in your approach to risk management? Share your experience in the Comment box below.

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