How Owners Can Find Solutions to Remain CompetitiveMarch 08, 2021 | By Wayne O'Neill
In my years of experience providing coaching to owners, I have found that there is a constant concern about being sold to. It’s tiring and laborious. How are you going to sort through the endless list of service providers that claim to know how to solve your problem with their solution?
This challenge is compounded by the need to strategically select service providers that can help you stay competitive in your market, increase profitability, and engage your evolving stakeholders.
It’s not just about trying to figure out which service provider is best-suited to solve basic problems outlined in your RFP. To grow your business, you need to be able to identify service providers that can help you solve the larger challenge that your organization is facing.
Finding the ideal service provider is challenging. It requires a greater level of commitment to the process of pursuing authentic connection and engagement to find a service provider that can help you solve larger challenges. I’ll help coach you through this process of how to gain a competitive advantage by identifying the ideal solution-provider.
How to Develop a Competitive Edge via the Selection Process
I get it. You might think you don’t have time, resources, or support to approach client engagement differently.
The never-ending cycle of sorting through problems, prioritizing which problems to solve, and trying to identify who can actually help you solve problems often creates a sense of concern that you won’t be able to identify the real problem-solvers.
So, owners hold things close to the vest. You may be hesitant to reveal too much during the procurement process, you don’t want to give up a sense of power, and you might be enamored with the numbers game. It may not be intentional, but you end up creating artificial competition where service providers undercut each other on price trying to win scope.
That’s an old way of doing business. You’ll end up working with service providers that just want to show up and not solve the larger problem that your organization is facing.
If you want to gain a competitive edge in your market, then you need to identify service providers that can help you solve larger problems, not just the problem you covered in the RFP.
Yes, you will need to be more vulnerable during client engagement. You will have to break away from politically-driven decision-making. That’s another headache, right? But, the end result is well worth it. Let me walk you through a pain-free approach to support this transition.
Look Inward Before Looking Outwardly at Service Providers
If you’re accustomed to constantly being sold to, then what I’m about to tell you will sound like a foreign language. Start the new approach to client engagement by first looking inwardly at your organization:
- What is our organizational mission?
- How are capital projects tied to the mission?
- Who is influencing the direction of our organization?
- How have our customers or other stakeholders changed?
- What wish list scope could be moved to the forefront?
There are countless other internal questions to ask. But, take the time to perform an internal evaluation. Who are we? Where are we going? Who do we serve? Why do we exist?
It may seem strange at first to ask these inward questions because you’re accustomed to spending time evaluating each service provider that responds to the RFP. You fall into responsive thinking; not proactive thinking. It may not occur to you to first analyze your organizational direction before deciding on which service provider can provide the right solution.
Here’s why I’m stressing this point. To identify service providers that can help you gain a competitive edge, then you need to be able to sort through the pretenders from the contenders. And, one of the best ways to make the distinction is by evaluating which companies truly understand your business, truly understand your industry, and truly understand where you are going.
But, you won’t be able to identify the service providers that “get you” if you don’t first take the time to dive deeper into your own organizational mission to get yourself.
Find Service Providers That Want to Collaborate
In your new way of client engagement, you want to look for companies that are interested in pursuing collaboration. This type of company doesn’t just want to win one piece of scope. That’s easy. A true collaborator is looking to solve the larger problem in your organization. Here’s what to look for:
- They will approach your organization in diverse ways.
- They will ask different types of questions looking to uncover hidden problems.
- They will proactively seek out business and political issues that drive decision-making in your organization.
Some of this may sound uncomfortable. Perhaps you don’t want to yield certain information or risk losing political battles by pulling back the curtain too far. Remember, though, you started with an inward focus. You are now comfortable in your own skin. You are no longer engaged in power battles or trying to minimize interaction with potential service providers because you don’t want to reveal too much.
Be empowered to look for solutions and impact, not just look for convenient, political selections. And, be open to collaborative thinking around your business and political issues.
If you take the time to strategically sort through the pretenders from the contenders, then you will become increasingly comfortable engaging with potential service providers that really understand your organization and where you are heading.
Then, you can come together with the contenders to collaboratively solve the larger problem in your organization through more comprehensive solutions. This is how you can develop a competitive edge in your market and position your organization to continue maintaining a competitive edge in the long-term.
– Interested to find out more about how to develop this type of competitive edge in your organization? Contact RESET today for coaching that is tailored specifically to the needs of owners. We will help you achieve organizational goals by providing coaching on how to identify the type of service providers that you want to do business with.