Q: We have a consulting business that bids on contracts that come up for tender. There is a contract we would love to have but the same company has been getting it for the past five years. My partner thinks we shouldn’t bother bidding on it but I think we should. What would you advise?
A: In short, go for it! Sure you might not get it and I appreciate a lot of work goes into putting a bid together. AND unless you throw your hat in the ring you aren’t going to get that contract or grow your business. A failsafe way to not grow your business is to assume things and not ask for the business.
Tip #1 – Don’t assume anything
It’s easy to run assumptions about things and people; we do it all the time in business and in life. We assume things and yet we really don’t really know unless we ask. Don’t assume anything, for all you know the company putting out the tender doesn’t want to work with that other company but they are the only ones who ever bid on the job. Or maybe there is a new person vetting the bids that the other company doesn’t have a relationship with.
Tip # 2 – Ask for the business
I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to clients and asked, “Did you ask for their business?” Only to have my client reply, “No, I just assumed they would get in touch with me if they wanted to move forward”, or “I was nervous they would say no”, or “I didn’t want to come across as pushy.”
I recently read a statistic that more than 60 percent of sales people never ask for the order even after giving a full needs assessment and demonstrating the benefits of their service/product. That’s crazy! Asking demonstrates strength, confidence and initiative. Three tips for asking: Ask clearly and confidently, keep it real and keep it simple.