Over our last two blogs, we have worked through the purpose and principles behind effective interactive procurement workshops for tender teams/shortlisted respondents with your clients.  These two blogs can be found at:

The purpose of an effective interactive procurement workshop with your client
The principles behind ensuring an effective interactive procurement workshop experience with your client

This blog focuses on the do’s and don’ts behind how we behave as a tender team/shortlisted respondent with our client to maximise the interactive and rapport building with our client.  The ultimate outcome from any interactive is to build trust and de-risk our offering so that we are able to provide the best quality value for money proposal to the client at the end of the procurement process.  How well this is done is directly related to how we interact and behave with our client.

At each interactive, everyone on our tender team who attends the interactive workshops must be clear on what is expected of them in terms of behaviour.  Prior to the session the tender team should align on ‘ground rules’ for the interactive.   This isn’t just for the core members who attend more than one interactive but also extends to our technical people and subject matter experts who attend the occasional interactive through the procurement process.  They are all critical to the success of the interactive however they present risks if they don’t understand or are aligned on how we plan to approach the interactives.

To assist with understanding how we behave in our interactives with our clients, we have provided some example do’s and don’ts behaviours that are relevant for collaborative interactive procurement workshops:

DoDon't
Come prepared and ready to engage – know the RFP/frameworks/pre-reading/technical papersRely on the client to provide you with the answers and solutions
Be open minded and ready to listenAct defensively and don’t listen to what people have to say
Be inclusive, share ideas and speaking timeDominate and talk over other people
Demonstrate understanding and seek clarification on areas where there is uncertainty Make assumptions on what the client wants to know about or what they think
Pre-prepare questions or concerns you would like to askCome unprepared and just ‘wing it’
Request feedback from the client and provide feedback when necessaryPrescribe a specific solution straight away which can limit innovation
Use positive body language / facial expressions. Upright. Dress professionallyBe guarded or seem unapproachable, bent over, slumped, sighs, eye rolls etc
Turn off your phone and other portable devices Get distracted by technology or text/respond to emails during the session
Be on time – arrive early and meet as a team somewhere beforehand to run through any ‘last minute’ issuesBe late
Chair to make decision (final say) in event of a disputeRefuse to move on
Trust in the team and trust in the client (empower the team to have an open discussion)Be unsure of your role or try and perform other people’s roles, talk over others, be disrespectful
Be yourself Try to be someone you just aren’t
Be calm and considered Let the conversation get off track
Remain aligned and united as a bid teamCut across other people or start undermining others in the bid team
Challenge the client for better solutions in a respectful way and respect the views of othersBe a people pleaser and just say “yes” to everything, even when you do not agree
Commercial in confidence and professionalismDiscuss other projects under procurement or other bids inside the interactive

 

To bring these to life, they require practice with the team and feedback on how we are interacting against these do’s and don’ts.  They don’t come naturally to us as we tend to like to solve as highly technical people and that has been our approach with a lot of our client interactions in the past.  When you plan out your interactives, allow plenty of time for practice and feedback dialogues to ensure we are bringing these interactive do’s and don’ts to life.  We are being evaluated on these by our clients as they are making decisions on which team has the potential to work collaboratively with them to achieve their project outcomes.