partner in Grant Thornton
Government and Infrastructure Advisory group
Since the autumn of 2008 and the cataclysmic events in the financial markets, demonstrating within bids and tenders that your client or consortium can finance projects became much more challenging. As we all know this is a fundamental prerequisite to success in competitive tenders for significant projects of the type profiled on this website, and supported by ourselves and Vision TDM.
Around the time of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, almost overnight, margins on bank debt for low risk, Government backed projects, more than doubled. Not because there was more risk of project failure…there wasn’t; simply because liquidity, i.e. the availability of finance was sharply reduced. Similarly on housing projects, demonstrating exercisable demand where the availability of mortgage finance was hit hard can be extremely challenging.
Grant Thornton’s team has sought to apply innovation to the projects on which we have advised, and has continued to close transactions throughout the downturn. Our advice to bidders seeking to assure clients of their ability to finance projects would be to consider the following:
- Demonstrate the availability of corporate funding for the project.
- Understand the full range of funding routes available to the project and show how they can be applied and leveraged. This will include public funding such as prudential borrowing and mechanisms such as new homes bonus, such as Jessica, etc.
- Consider how security guarantees could be offered which allow funders to sharpen their pricing.
- Understand how public assets may be contributed into partnership vehicles in order to provide matching value for debt and equity.
Winning matters but is it everything and should it be pursued at all costs? To win you must do more than just try your best…afterall there is no consolation in trying but coming second. Winning is more than a state of mind, its more than being ruthless and more than just dominating a market with sheer size. To be a real winner you need to:
But with sales and bidding it’s not enough to win once and never again- this will not help grow your business, create stability, or establish you in the marketplace. Becoming a consistent winner is a skill that can be learnt- it takes an understanding of the sales process and how bidding sits within it. Once you have the basics its practice, practice, practice…
We’ve already talked about How to Make Value Statements and Effective Output Thinking. These are constituent parts of the long established and far reaching AIDA sales formula:
A is for Attention- get your prospect’s attention immediately and hold it- first impressions count! Tell them up front what they can expect from working with you or using your product. Link it to SMART values and make it time related if possible, “…within 2 weeks of appointment we will…” or “…by the end of 10 weeks you will be able to…”
I is for Interest- you have their attention but it won’t last forever so don’t lose their interest. The main body of your bid needs to address the issues and resultant challenges with a solution. You will need to take your prospect on a journey of discovery until he can see the eventual outcome.
D is for Desire- building desire is part of the storytelling. Having shown the route to success for the project in hand you need to show where you have done it before, what the outcome was and how the client benefited. Help your client to see how your solution might work for him and encourage him to think, “…if you can do it for them, you can do it for me…!”
A is for Action- this is a little harder in a bidding process but not impossible. Whilst the client will stick with their timescales for deliberation you can influence the eventual decision. SMART values are so powerful- they help you to identify the actions, how they will be carried out, any limitations that might apply, and when they will be done.
The call for action is so important in sales and bidding as it creates a visual image in the mind of the reader, “…in a year’s time, by doing [so-and-so] we will have achieved…” or more really, “…I can’t wait and I want it now..!”
Influencing the way your prospect thinks can be achieved in a number of ways; showing your product or demonstrating your service, giving examples of how others have benefited so they can visualise the value it will bring, and most importantly, being excited in what you do or sell. Use the excitement and tone of your bid as the subliminal influencer to capture your audience- we all love being around people who are so captivated by what they are doing and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
“Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.”
Achieve this and you’ll find that just as with celebrities or sports personalities, people will want to be around you, work with you and share in your success and the path to winning begins…why not share your success story by commenting on these thoughts?