Usually it doesn’t.
So how can you and your firm make it on to the radar of these large consumers of professional services?
Unfortunately, there are no easy short cuts.
How to play the long game for invitation only tenders
To pursue the ideal work you really want, with dream clients, you need to be prepared to play the long game. And the long game goes something like this:
- Pick the organisation or organisations that you want to work for.
- Look for ways to get to know them – where do they hang out?
- Identify their issues and concerns, and what you can do to solve them.
- Use your contacts to gain introductions to the right people.
- Provide them with substantial, relevant and genuinely helpful thought leadership pieces (not just a copy of your firm newsletter).
- Network with key people at professional and industry events.
- Join and participate in LinkedIn groups and discussions, or other online forums, in which they are active.
- If you can get some “off-panel” pieces of work, it goes without saying that you need to do an excellent job – and use the opportunity to demonstrate the great benefits of working with you (this is and has always been the easiest and best sell).
The long game can take a few years. Yes, years. But don’t be put off, because when the procurement cycle comes up again, the time and effort you have invested will give you a much greater chance of being invited to tender. The perception (and reality) you’ve built up with that prospective client is that you’re an expert in the field who’s great to work with.
Much of this advice also goes for publicly advertised tenders and for unsolicited capability statements. No matter the circumstance, if you have no relationship with, or real insight into, the tendering organisation, then what you can offer will be fairly superficial and untargeted; hardly appealing to evaluators and prospective clients.
The long game is simple to learn, but difficult to master. If your organisation needs assistance with planning and coaching to position for invitations from desirable clients, please get in touch.
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Remember, nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply Albert Einstein was spot-on when he said “nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply”. Tenders, bids, proposals, and informal pitches for business are not times to show how clever and capable you are by using legalese (I’m looking at you lawyers), […]