Building Client Relationships
It is astonishing how much can change for a company in a short time period. In less than a year, we have taken on a new local client and assisted them in writing 6 out of 7 winning tenders (an 86%-win rate) which has opened up new avenues for them including helping them to expand their business further to incorporate new workstreams
However, it cannot be stressed enough how important the initial stages of the process are, to ensure a strong partnership is established through initial meetings and close communication. This lays the foundations to allow us to build momentum, from that important first win to many more.
The biggest cause for concern in our clients is that we are not experts in their business and this is true (although we have written countless tenders for a variety of industries). Our expertise lies in the tendering process and this is why initial meetings are incredibly important. They ensure that we extract all of the key information out of our clients required to secure a win, ranging from general company background information to specific processes in accordance with the specification. Integral to the success of these meetings is our extensive researching and reading beforehand, on the clients, their industry and the contracting authority, including:
• The client’s industry – if it is one we have not written for previously, to ensure basic understanding prior to the meeting.
• The contracting authority – to understand what their key values are and understand what they’re looking for – e.g. through reading their annual reports.
• And of course, all of the tender documents – understanding everything about them to ensure understanding of the way in which the contracting authority want our clients to deliver their requirements and objectives.
Essentially, we act as a conduit to help channel their knowledge and expertise into a formatted, tailored response to the quality questions. During the meeting we ask a lot of questions. It may feel like an interrogation at times, as we will require a constant flow of information regarding their operating procedures. However, once the meeting is over, we will be primed to respond to the quality questions as thoroughly as possible to the contracting authorities’ requirements. However, the communication doesn’t stop there…
Right up until the submission date we will be in continuous communication with the client, sending regular progress updates and reminders for any outstanding information required. We want the submission to be the best it can be, so will not hesitate to pick up the phone if we feel like additional information would make the response stronger. Where possible we liaise with specific departments and management personnel relative to the question we are asking.
Following the first submission, we have then laid the foundations to make the process less complex; as we will not only have a strong grounding in the company, but also familiarity which makes the communication process easier. It is from here that momentum will start to build and more opportunities will open up. For example, for this particular client we successfully won a supply chain partnership with one of Britain’s leading construction, development and property services companies, which has provided endless possibilities for future work.