In most tender pitches, an average hopeful contractor stands before the decision makers and will do one of 2 things:
1. Re-present the highlights of their tender documents – as though the audience has not read them*
2. Go all salesy. They try and sell you the benefits of choosing them over anyone else.
Those that stand out take a different approach. They take an educational approach to their pitch. Instead of selling or repeating the tender documents they set out to educate their audience. They use an educational structure, educational techniques and deliver from an educational perspective.
This has 3 advantages:
1. They are not like everyone else
2. The audience doesn’t feel sold to
3. and it positions them as an authority in the partnership.
With your next pitch aim to educate and not to sell.
*The best example that you see of this is when you see the speaker introduce themselves to the audience – even when they have been speaking about the pitch for 12 months!
The tender cycle has three stages, each with their own objective. Unfortunately most that make it to stage 3 answer the final question the wrong way and miss out.
Stage 1 – Request for tender.
This is about the cut. Cut out those who are not qualified to complete the project. This reduces work.
Stage 2 – Tender Docs
The client is looking for suppliers that they can consider for the project and excluding those that are not good enough. As such, suppliers put forward all the reasons they should not be excluded.
Stage 3 – The Pitch.
The pitch is about a reason to choose – why should they choose you over someone else? Unfortunately most suppliers simply re-present their tender docs which are reasons to not be excluded – not reasons to be chosen.
This is not what the decision makers are looking for.
Despite the bad wrap it gets, Jargon* is an essential part of the workplace. Without it communication would take far too long.
There are three objectives of Jargon:
Objective 1 – Define the tribe
Those who are part of the tribe understand the jargon. If your not part of the tribe you don’t need to understand the message. The converse of this is true too. If you don’t understand the jargon you’re not part of the tribe.
Objective 2 – Increase the speed
A good TLA^ will reduce the time to deliver your message. OH&S is much quicker and easier to say than Occupational Health and Safety.
Objective 3 – Deliver the message.
Every community and culture has a language that is unique to them. Its Jargon are the agreed words that community uses to share their message.
The problem with Jargon is usually found around the defining of who is in the tribe. Fix how you induct people into the tribe and you’ll fix the problem of jargon**.
*Jargon and Management speak are different things. Management speak are cliches and motherhood statements that sound impressive and don’t mean anything when examined. (e.g. we must be efficient and effective!) Management Speak is to be avoided at all times.
^TLA – Three letter acronym.
**I once worked for a government department who issued an edict that we were to eliminate jargon from the workplace. After trying for 30 minutes we gave up on it. It was just to hard to communicate.
We have all seen the election pitch that we don’t believe.
The politician is lying. They know they are lying; we know they are lying; they know we know they are lying, but they keep on talking hoping that we believe their lie.
We pick up on the subtle queues that give them away – poor eye contact, fidgeting, stumbling over words. These are only slight and on their own do not mean much, but taken together we spot the
It doesn’t matter how big the lie is either. It is the dissonance of what they are saying and what they
know that gives them away.
When pitching, your client will pick up on your stretching of the truth, brushing over and the ‘Lets hope they don’t ask’ situations. We spot it in job interviews and politicians alike.
If the pitch is not right for you* then you either need to change the pitch or the person delivering it. The audience will pick up on it.
*you could be the person or company.
Your presentation skills are irrelevant*….until you have a boring message.
When your message is boring, does not make sense or is not convincing, people then look to your presentation skills and see that they are not up to scratch.
Many pitches have been lost because the message was not clear and poor presentation skills took the wrap for it.
As the presenter of the pitch it is up to you to have a crystal clear message that resonates with your audience. Then polish your presentation skills so you stand out.
You’re always being judged in a pitch. It’s important to understand what you’re being judged upon.
*It may seem unusual that a presentation skills expert would say this. That’s why my training is focused on how your audience hears your message – and not how you deliver it.
Despite thousands of years of trying, we are not able to predict the future of non-standard events with any certainty. I’m pretty confident that the sun will rise on December 1, but over the same time frame we have no reliable way to predict what the price of petrol will be.
It’s the same when sharing an idea, pitching for a contract or selling your services. We have no logical way to know what will be happening 12 months from now. We hope we know, we trick ourselves into thinking we know but we do not. No one does. Any belief that we have is based solely in emotions – not logic.
Pitching therefore cannot rely on logic to win. You must elicit emotions if you want to get across the line first.
Would love your thoughts on this.
Each year we make New Years resolutions. On 1 January we are keen to lose the weight, start a business or get back into shape. However, by 5 January, most people have forgotten about them, and come February no-one mentions them.
I reckon there are three reasons for this.
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Authenticity has two sides to it – to yourself and to what others expect from you or your position. If you get this right work is easy and challenges are welcomed. If you get it wrong you’re in a world of pain.
- If you’re authentic to yourself but not to your role you are a misfit – the conductor with a rock band.
- If you are authentic to your role but not yourself you are hollow – you’re living someone else’s life
- If you’re not authentic to yourself nor your position you are dying – every day is drudgery and hard work.
- When you are authentic to yourself and your role you operate in flow. You’re doing what you were put on this earth to do.
Realising that you are potentially in the wrong box can be painful and take a while to admit. But those who are authentic to both themselves and their role are easy to follow, easy to work with and easy to live with.
How is your authenticity going?
One of my childhood hero’s was/is Dr. Karl (Kruszelnicki). He understands and can explain just about anything from microbial disorders through to problems with inter-planetary travel. When he can’t answer a question he openly says, ‘I don’t know!’
One of his mantras is, ‘The Nobel Prize for Science is not given out for the answers scientists give but for the questions they ask’. Knowing what question to ask and what ones to avoid changes everything. Asking the same old questions sends you down the same old path as every other scientist. Those who stand out ask different questions and get different answers.
In my program Better Positioning, Deeper Conversations, More Sales I will show you how to go beyond asking the normal basic questions that every sales person asks. I’ll show you how to dig deeper, challenge assumptions and uncover the issues that clients will buy on. When you can dig deeper in a different way you stand apart from your competition. This helps you offer greater value to your customer.
If you’d like to know how to ask better questions I’ll be focusing on it in the program Better Positioning, Deeper Conversations, More Sales. You can get all the details here.
There are three ways to increase sales for 2017. They are:
- Do what you did in 2016 and hope for better luck. This is unreliable.
- Add more staff and/or products to sell. This is good but expensive and the lead-time is long.
- Develop positioning so people come to you. This is powerful, cheap and offers leverage.
Positioning is about assuming a position in the market and telling the market you own it. You do this by capturing what you know and using it to lead the market.
Positioning gives you:
- Marketing content that people read. No one reads ads anymore but they read content that is relevant to their business.
- A reason to see your customers. When you stop advertising and start generating ideas that are valuable people want to see you. This is the perfect excuse to call and see a customer.
- It’s easy – it is about what you know, your experience and how you can use that to sell more.
- An endless supply of information that keeps your market connected to you.
My program Better Positioning, Deeper Conversation, More Sales will show you how to position yourself as the leader you want to be so customers want to buy from you. You can get more of its details here.
How will you increase your sales in 2017 – luck or positioning?