- Who are the key buyers and decision-makers, what are their values and needs
- What are the key business issues
- What are the things to avoid
- What is the client’s previous experience with and attitude to advisers
- Who are your competitors and what are their relative strengths
When you start discussing the tender, bid or pitch process, the questions below may be used to find out more about their tender requirements and reasons for changing.
- Why has the [legal or accountancy] service been put out to pitch/tender?
- Who are the incumbents?
- How many firms have been invited to pitch/tender at this stage? Who are they?
- What are your reasons for choosing these firms?
Current adviser experience
- Are you happy with the advice you currently receive from your current provider? What works well/not so well?
- Is there anything you would like to change about the existing team?
- What firms have you used in the past? Have you experienced any problems with them and if so what were they?
- Do you have any concerns in relation to changing supplier and if so what are they?
- What are your key decision criteria? e.g. price, experience, relationship etc
- Do you have an approximate fee in mind?
- What are the most important qualities that you are looking for in the [legal or accountancy] service?
- Who will be making the final decision? If they are not present at the scoping visit, is it possible to meet with them?
- What are your expectations in terms of the proposal document – length/content?
- If applicable, what schedule are you working to. What is the pitch deadline and what will the stages be?
- Are there any other service areas you would like us to cover in our proposal in addition to [legal or accountancy service]?
- What are the next stages? e.g. document, presentation, deadlines, etc?
Use this time to clarify any points on the ITT that you are unsure of and request additional information that would be useful to you. It’s also a good time to assess the team you have put forward to determine whether it is the ‘best team’.
Many legal and accountancy practitioners are sometimes afraid to ask some of the more direct questions pertaining to the reasons why they are being asked to pitch and who else they may be up against. If you know who you are up against, you can strategise. You can outwit the competition. If you know who they are, you can anticipate what they are likely to say and what they may be doing to win the work.
Remember you have every right to ask. A pitch or tender process is an investment. It costs time, energy and money to take part in a pitch process. Get the answers you need to put together a proposal that puts you in the very best of positions to win. However, handle probes sensitively and where clients rebuff questions and decline to provide information, retreat gracefully. Over-zealous enquiries can be misunderstood for aggression. That’s a big turn off.
His passion for marketing and client acquisition has developed into a 20-year career, working for some of the leading professional service firms in the UK.
Graham can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mobile: 07484 644846.
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