Your sliding doors moment?
One of my favourite movies is Sliding Doors. You may know it; it’s the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow that explores two parallel life stories; one based on missing her tube train and one based on catching it. So where’s the relevance to pitching for new business? Let me explain…
Sliding doors moment 1 – you won!
It’s 4.58pm on Friday afternoon and you get the call from that hot prospect you’ve been waiting for. Great news! You beat the competition and the contract is yours. So how do you ensure this is going to be a great relationship from the go?
First, and most importantly, remember all those promises you made to win the business? Yep, they’re the reason you won! So now you have to live up to them. Here are my top four tips for maintaining – and building on – that win:
Four tips for maintaining – and building on – your win
1 – Build a strategic and tactical implementation plan
From day one of your commercial relationship. It must be mutual in terms of its construction and expansive in terms of its scope. Which areas of the two businesses will interact and how will they interact? The objective is to ensure the right people are in sync from the go. Doing so will instill a feeling of confidence that you were the right choice.
2 – Beware of internal reticence.
If you are inheriting a relationship from a long-standing previous supplier you may come up against some internal resistance. Face-to-face visits will help overcome some of these barriers – don’t do everything by phone or email. A clear implementation plan will help all parties understand what success looks like and how progress will be measured and reviewed.
3 – Schedule regular reviews.
Not only is this great customer service, it allows you to periodically check and correct if necessary. And they provide a regular opportunity to propose new ideas which demonstrate added value and which will bring you increased revenue opportunities.
4 – A continual review process also helps
To bring closer alignment and consequently create a barrier to the competition – the more aligned you are, the harder it is to be dislodged.
With an agreed implementation plan in place and a regular set of reviews in the diary, success looks likely and the relationship can proceed with confidence.
Sliding doors moment 2 – you lost
It’s 4.58pm on Friday afternoon and you get the call from that hot prospect you’ve been waiting for. Nightmare! You came a ‘close second’, but it’s definitely a case of ‘close but no cigar.’ How do you react?
Three tips for turning a loss – into learning
1 – Ask why you lost
First, and most importantly, ask for the reasons you lost. Most customers will provide the courtesy of a de-briefing, yet 95% of companies that pitch don’t ask for one. And of the 5% that do, only half will implement the feedback. Find out if you lost on: price, strategy or people?
2 – Rewrite your tender
When you have the feedback, take the time to re-write your tender; it may be a painful process, but it will help you understand where it let you down and will be invaluable for future pitches.
3 – Don’t be afraid to keep in touch with the prospect
. You never know; by keeping the dialogue open you could position yourself as a second supplier. And if the winning vendor doesn’t perform, you will be ready to step in and offer to help.
Key lessons whether you win or lose
So whichever scenario you find yourself in; the key lessons are, as always, to listen and learn. If you lost; listen to find out why, implement changes accordingly and keep the dialogue open. If you won, keep your ears open during reviews for new, revenue-generating opportunities and keep the barrier to competition high!
I hope you’ve found this 3-part series covering how to prepare and pitch and review post-tender useful and informative. I’d love to hear your experiences and your associated highs and lows when tendering.
Subscribe to the Channel Partner Connection and receive email updates when we publish a new article.