There are a number of reasons why a business may put a contract out to tender. They might be:
- Looking for a new supplier
- Obliged to (actually not wanting to change)
- Testing the market
- Looking for leverage with their existing supplier
- … or a whole host of other reasons
If they are not undertaking the tender process to look for a new supplier you might ask, “why bother?” You might be right! You might also think that the tender process is not a good way to win business as it overrides the opportunity for relationship selling. I, for one, am a firm believer in the power of relationship selling.
However, the tender process might, just might, be the first step in the relationship building process. By asking intelligent questions, submitting a good response, looking for a debrief and generally engaging with the process you can certainly make your mark, and potentially establish some useful contacts. Once these contacts have been established you may be able to develop those relationships over time and penetrate the organisation – all of which could put you in a winning position for next time.
So my point is; don’t just think of the tender process as a beginning and end in itself. It could, if you don’t win first time, be just the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.