Are You Just Trying to Get Hired … Or Are Your Creating Scope?

I understand this is a difficult time to be a service provider bidding on capital projects. Projects seem to be stuck. Business seems to be at a standstill. Everyone that you typically sell to seems to be hunkering down waiting out the current storm caused by the economic disruption and health crisis.

In the midst of the chaos, though, is real opportunity to create and advance scope. The key is whether you are willing to reset your thinking to focus on leveraging your solution for value or impact rather than trying to sell on price in a race to the bottom.

Lift Your Eyes Above the Confines of the RFP

In my experience as a business coach, I have talked to many service providers about the importance of not responding to every possible RFP just trying to get hired.

Now is not the time to go back to those old habits and the false security of responding to each RFP that you come across hoping to find new work during the current economic crisis.

I know it might seem comforting to resort to the tactical response of responding to every RFP in an effort to seek immediate relief, especially if your company is overwhelmed by dwindling resources.

But, I want you to lift your eyes above your current viewpoint of responding to RFPs and ask an important question of whether these are the right clients to pursue. And, I don’t want you to miss the real opportunity to satisfy both short-term objectives supporting business continuity and positioning your company for sustained long-term growth well after the economic crisis has passed.

Solve the Real Problem Instead of the Visible Problem

If you’re focused on responding to as many RFPs as possible hoping to win a decent percentage of bids, you’re going to miss hidden clues in target organizations that can help you unlock more scope and greater pieces of scope.

Too many service providers — no matter the economic conditions — respond to the exact specs of each RFP. Of course, if you’re just focused on pumping out as many bids as possible, that’s all that you can do.

But, inside the RFP is information about real problems and the business drivers for those problems. The clues are hiding in plain sight to unlock the problem behind the problem where your company can leverage your solution for value and impact.

Narrowing your focus to smart clients and a select number of RFPs will allow your team to spend more time using the clues to guide you to a more complete solution that addresses multiple challenges and solves multiple problems within the organization.

Don’t confine yourself to thinking only about what’s outlined in the RFP. Because here’s a secret. Most organizations putting out the RFP don’t actually know what their real problems are. But, if you can identify these problems and propose a solution that addresses the underyling problems in the organization, you will be competitively positioned against every other service provider to create more scope.

While your competitors are asking the wrong questions, addressing the wrong problems, and looking for a self-destructive bidding war to the lowest price trying to get hired, you can present a real solution that wins on value and impact.

Stop Playing the Numbers Game; Start Creating Scope

What I’m proposing may seem like a drain of time, energy, and resources focusing on a select number of RFPs, diving into each prospect, and aiming to win on value and impact rather than price in today’s economic conditions.

Let’s continue to reset your thinking. Isn’t it already draining trying to respond to every RFP, compromising on price and slicing your margins, and trying to schmooz as many decision-makers in the organization when you get a sniff of opportunity to win the bid?

What I’m recommending is slowing down in the early stage of deciding which RFPs to respond to. Focus on smart clients, gather intelligence about the organization, develop a behavioral respect for the issues facing the organization as a whole and the issues facing decision-makers within the organization, and start to build connections and relationships with individuals at multiple levels in the organization.

If you put in the time and work to build authentic connection with target organizations, you will start to see the results. It may not be this bid, but it may be a referral for the next bid because you differentiated yourself and stood out from the pack.

Looking for and solving the problem behind the problem leads to the development of profitable relationships. It leads to being sought after for the value and impact you can create as a service provider.

Ultimately, in the long run, it means setting up your company to dictate the terms of engagement, not being just another service provider responding to yet another RFP. This is how you position your company for long-term growth and opportunity for scope creation coming out of the economic disruption.

Work With RESET for Short-Term and Long-Term Objectives

I’m not guaranteeing instant results. I recognize that many service providers are looking for quick wins in this economy. But, don’t fall for a false sense of security. Think ahead to where you want your company to be positioned at the end of the year, next year, or five years from now.

Do you want to continue running on the hamster wheel of bidding on every RFP, or do you want to be sought after because you can provide value and impact?

Building authentic connections with target organizations will yield faster, more sustainable growth opportunities. We can help with this process through our coaching on The Connection Process.

Our proven methodology supports service providers by helping to identify smart clients to pursue, align with the problems behind the problems and other business and political challenges hiding beneath the surface, and develop important paths to connection at multiple levels in the organization. This leads to leveraging your solution for impact and value.

We are available to discuss The Connection Process and how to implement the methodology in your approach to responding to RFPs. Because you shouldn’t just want to get hired; you should be thinking about creating scope. We’ll help you develop the right approach to grab more scope and larger pieces of scope, even in today’s economic conditions.


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