Winning work is a lot easier than most teams realise.  The key to winning work is understanding what is keeping your clients up at night and then demonstrating you have the proven experience, the best team, the right innovations and the right leadership to ensure their risks and fears are mitigated.

Winning is about making the bid process all about the client and what worries them, not about you and what solution you are selling.  It’s about the client and what matters to them, not about the bid team trying prove themselves to win a contest.  It’s about being a trusted service provider and working collaboratively with the client, not about being technically excellent or being a great sales person.

During an Expression of Interest (EOI) or Request for Tender (RFT) process clients are seeking to get the maximum value for money they can.  It’s during this phase the client has the most buying power so they will seek to get as much out of the bidding process as they can it terms of value.  They will ask for the world hoping they can get as much as they can.   Bidders often get distracted by this and thinking they need to please the client in order to win the job. This is a mistake.

Whilst a client may ask for many things during an EOI and RFT process, in reality their decision will be based largely on who gives them the most confidence they can mitigate the client’s risks and then provide overall value for money.

To win the job you must get under the clients skin and understand what worries them and what keeps them up at night.

Your first task as a bid team is to give the client confidence that you can mitigate their fears and concerns. If you can’t do this you won’t get selected, or in the occasion you get selected (often because you were the cheapest) then you will start the job with a lack of trust.

Once you understand the clients fears and can give them confidence that you can mitigate their key risks, the second step is to come up with innovative solutions which convert their risks into opportunities.  This is a mistake many bid teams make where they offer up bells and whistles as innovations which do not help win the job.  Clients will get confidence where they see innovations which reduce their risks.

For example, consider that one of your client risks is traffic disruption during construction.  Demonstrating you understand why this is an issue, and then offering innovation which will significantly improve traffic flows during construction is what will get the client excited.  These may include offline construction, after hours working, construction staging which brings parts of the functionality earlier and so forth.  It doesn’t mean innovative structure design which excites the technical people but doesn’t help alleviate the client’s core risks.

The purpose of the interactives or positive guidance workshops is therefore not to be a sales person or to try impress the client with your knowledge.  The purpose of the interactives is to “interact” with the client to better understand their risks and then collaboratively talk through potential solutions and opportunities to de-risk the project.  The bid team that best users their time at interactives to understand the clients fears and risks and to come up with the best solutions to mitigate these will be the one who is most likely to win the job.