BD tips and insights

Understanding buyer perspectives in professional services

While each consumer of expert professional services has a unique set of preferences driving their buying behaviour, various groups or “clusters” of consumers share common characteristics.

To forecast likely buying behaviour (and tailor your tender, bid or proposal pitch accordingly) consider these factors.

Better understanding different buyer perspectives is critical to winning professional services work

Organisation type and size

Public sector, large corporates, private companies, small business, private client  –  the complexity of purchasing behaviour tends to reduce along this continuum.

Nature of work

Whether the work under consideration is strategic, high-risk, specialty, routine or commodity will have huge impact on the buyer’s perspective on your offer.

Buyer sophistication or expertise

Consider whether it’s an individual or corporation buying, their price sensitivity, their orientation to a “relationship” purchase, and brand factors.

Be careful not to over-generalise:  markets don’t buy  –  clients buy.

Getting to the nub of your particular buyer’s perspective

So, to get the buyer’s perspective on your offer, know (and if you don’t know find out):

  • who’s making the decision
  • how they’re making their decision –  i.e. what’s the process internally for them?
  • what’s important to them –  in rank order.

Specific factors important to corporate buyers of professional services

Many factors – often complex and intertwined – influence corporate buyers in approximately ascending order of importance, these are:

  • your style
  • a credible value proposition
  • your experience and knowledge
  • the referees you can offer
  • your enthusiasm and apparent hunger to win the work
  • the depth of your team
  • the right skills on the team
  • strong leadership of a well resourced team
  • quality of relationship
  • the clout and authority you bring to the project.

For some work in hotly contested corporate areas, you’ll have to be spot on with each and every item to make the grade, such is the competition on the supply side.

Remember, whatever your sector focus, or ideal client type, different buyers will seek different attributes  –  shape your offer to appeal to your buyer’s specific perspective and win more work.

For some best practice tips on re-shaping your existing proposal content to your buyer’s perspective check out our blog, Same-same, but different or please contact us.

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Over the years we’ve read hundreds of requests for tenders and proposals seeking services from professional services firms. Often RFT/Ps can seem cobbled together bastardised versions of older requests that have been edited by committee and end up asking silly, repetitive or irrelevant questions. Most of the time nothing sinister is going on, it is […]