Sales Techniques

The Importance of Relationships When Tendering

In its simplest terms, tendering is a formalised process for buying and selling. Everyone knows how much a good business relationship can help improve your chances of success when selling. But due to the formality of tenders, it can be difficult to even talk to someone once the tender is out – let alone build any decent relationships.

The Importance of Relationships When Tendering

Pre Tender Meetings (Tender Briefing Meetings) can be used to develop relationships during the tendering process. However, it should be your aim to start building relationships with your prospect well in advance of the tendering process.

Pre Tendering Relationships

Generally when selling higher value or more complex goods or services, you start trying to develop a relationship as part of the sales process; ideally you will have built a relationship before you try to make the sale. The reasons for this include:

  • Building trust
  • Understanding your prospect’s needs and problems
  • Your prospect gets to know your organisation’s abilities and benefits

Tenders are generally used for higher-value contracts. So, the same benefits of relationships that apply to selling can apply to tendering. Your relationship may also be able to influence the tendering process i.e. help the prospect in deciding what specification to tender for.

The Alternative Bid and Tendering

The alternative bid is a very powerful tool in winning tenders but it is often overlooked. Here is a quick guide on how it can increase your chances of tendering success.

The Alternative Bid and Tendering

What is an Alternative Bid?

In simple terms, it means offering something different to what is being asked for in the invitation to tender (ITT). For example, an ITT specifies using a particular brand of product, the alternative bid can be to offer different brand.

When to Use an Alternative Bid

Use only when there is a benefit to the customer. If the ITT specifies using Brand X but you are certain that using Brand Y would save them money, time or provide some other benefit then it would be good to offer an alternative using Brand Y.

Other examples of alternative bids include:

Get Feedback on Tenders and Proposals – Won or Lost

It is recognised by most that getting feedback on tenders and proposals is a fundamental part of the sales / tendering process. If you lose a bid, you try to find out what could have been improved or how the competition beat you. You can then try and address the issue(s) in future bids – hopefully turning losses into wins.

Get Feedback on Tenders and Proposals – Won or Lost

However, it’s surprising how many people say that they have not attempted to get any feedback on a lost sale or tender. Or that they have not chased up feedback when the buyer has not responded.

Always Get Feedback on Tenders

Ideally always seek a meeting to get feedback on tenders and proposals. Or at least have a telephone discussion – especially for higher value bids when you have invested a good deal of time and effort.

5 Top Tips on Successful Sales & Tender Negotiations

Here are our 5 top tips for successful sales and tender negotiations.

5 Top Tips on Successful Sales & Tender Negotiations

Proposals and informal tenders normally involve some negotiation. Formal tenders such as public sector tenders often have less scope for tender negotiations. Whichever, it is common for most deals to have some element of  contract negotiation before signing on the dotted line.

These tips on sales and tender negotiations will help you get a better deal when closing contracts.

1. Fall-back Position

Before you start, establish your fall-back position eg how far you will go to win the business and when to walk away.

2. Understand their Want List

When the buyer asks you for a concession, don’t immediately give it away – even if it’s small. Ask them if there is anything else holding back the sale; you want to know everything on their ‘want list’. If you start conceding things individually, a skilled buyer will take what you’ve given and then ask for more… before too long you’ve given it all away!

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