When you get short-listed to the final few in a tender you may get invited to present to a panel. Preparation is key to being successful in tender presentations:
1. Shortlist Tender Presentations – Don’t Panic!
It’s great news, you are down to the last few and close to winning a contract. But the prospect of making tender shortlist presentations can be daunting for non-salespeople! Often, due to lack of experience, those who will be presenting feel it’s not something they can tackle with confidence. Well, don’t worry!
The important thing to remember is that in most cases, the panel who will be marking your presentation want to hear from the people who will be delivering the products or service. They are not normally bothered about receiving a super-slick sales pitch from the sales department. They want to see who they will be dealing with on a daily basis in order to assess their abilities, knowledge and experience. This helps the panel gain confidence that you will deliver a good service.
We’ve worked with many businesses where the directors and managers either lack experience and/or confidence in sales presentations. We’ve followed the steps below and focused on showing how the team will meet the panel’s needs. The results have been that they’ve beaten the bigger firms (with their highly polished presentations) and won the tender or contract! So, when faced with tender shortlist presentations, remember the panel will be looking to see how and what you can deliver, not how good a salesperson you are.
2. Understand the Customer’s Requirements
Ask about the agenda:
- What content they want to see?
- Who they would like to attend?
- How much time is available?
- Do they want a formal presentation?
- Or will it be a Q&A session?
3. Get the Structure and Content Right
The content of your presentation must be relevant to the tender and the requirements in (2) above.
Don’t just copy the last presentation you did. Even if it went well and you won the tender, it may be way off the mark for the next tender panel.
By all means, re-use good content. But always tailor your presentation to give them exactly what they want.
4. Limit Corporate Emphasis – Give Them Benefits
Starting off with a snapshot or overview of the company is fine. But spouting endless facts is boring!
What the tender evaluation panel want to hear about is how your bid will help them. It must be about benefits i.e. what’s in it for them.
See the section on What’s in It For Them (Benefits) in answering tender questions. Also, consider the other recommendations contained in that post e.g. tell them about how you will provide added value, innovations, savings etc.
Whether it’s a company overview, how you operate or processes, you need to focus on how it helps them. Of course, you need to explain enough so that your audience understands how things work and that there is enough substance to deliver. But keep reminding them how it will help them.
Using evidence will support what you are saying. Some real-life anecdotes of how you’ve helped other similar customers adds proof… And therefore, belief.
5. Ask Who is Attending & Think Why
Refer to (2). This may help you decide what to focus on and who from your team should attend.
For example, if TUPE is involved and their HR people are attending, maybe your HR should be part of your team. Or if health and safety is critical and their H&S will be there, so should yours. They will have the expertise to discuss technical details with their counterpart.
As explained earlier, tender evaluation panels don’t want to hear the highly-polished salesperson talk for the whole presentation. They really want to hear from the people who will be delivering the service. The proposed contracts manager for example.
6. Agree a Leader
You need someone to ‘control’ or direct your team. He or she will be the focal point to receive and distribute questions to the right member of your team. This will show good organisation and professionalism. That always gives buyers more confidence when awarding a contract.
Without a leader, you can have the embarrassment of either no one answering a question. Or everyone trying to answer at the same time!
Typically, the leader will be a director, the salesperson or bid leader.
If you need help with a tender short-list presentation, contact us to improve your chances of winning the contract.
7. Consider What Questions Will Be Asked
Formal presentations are nearly always followed by questions. If not, questions tend to be asked during the presentation
Some tender shortlist meetings are an informal Q&A session. The tender panel will ask clarifications and for more information on your bid.
Others have a predefined set of questions that are asked of all shortlisted bidders.
For all of these you must agree:
- What you will say?
- Who will answer what types of questions? (see 5 & 6)
If you don’t have predefined questions, brainstorm what types of questions you think might be asked. Agree your responses and who will answer each question/topic.
Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse!
You don’t have to be a super-slick salesperson. The panel are more interested in the people who will deliver and don’t expect them to seasoned presenters. But being confident will really help your chances of winning at tender presentations!
- Rehearse the draft presentation
- Critique it and get colleagues’ feedback
- Go back and rehearse a few more times
- Each presenter should rehearse their part on their own a few times
- Rehearse again during the week
- Have a final rehearsal on the day
Spend time getting it right. This will help improve your confidence and so ensure that you come across in a professional manner.
Tender Shortlist Presentations – Summary
Don’t panic. Do prepare.
If you follow these 8 steps, you will win more bids.
If you try and do everything in a last-minute rush, you will lose more tenders than you should.
We have a big law firm client that we’ve worked with several times on shortlist tender presentations. Each time, they do all of this. And each time, they win the bid!
Please add your thoughts, ideas or comments regards tender presentations below.