Bid Culture Gimmicks That Need To Go

Daryl Saunders     6 November 2018


Party tricks are great. We all know someone who can juggle, or use their teeth as a bottle opener. But there’s a time and a place, and when these actions are taken out of their context, and they’re done all the time, they begin to get a bit….tiresome. And they start to signpost to a bigger problem. When I was at University, I met a man who wore shorts all year round – it was his thing.

In bids and pitching, we see this happen quite often. Competitive dialogues and presentations are increasingly tough and bidders are constantly looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. A reliance on tricks and gimmicks is often an obvious distraction; from a lack of a real offer and a lack of confidence in what you’re putting forward.

So how do you make sure that what you’re doing isn’t just polishing the proverbial and a sure-fire way of undermining all the work that’s gone before? By asking yourself some important questions, that’s how.

The Relevance Question

This is the most important question you should be testing yourself against when you’re making any decision for your bid, be it what you’re writing, what you’re offering, or how you are delivering your message. How relevant to our end client is what we are doing? The main decision maker might really like pizza, but do we really need to make the bid look like a meat feast and deliver it to their door?

It’s really important to have people in your team who aren’t afraid to speak up about this kind of thing. We’ve often seen it where teams get carried away by their own creativity and commit to doing something that’s a bit, well…naff.

The Preparedness Question

Whatever it is that you decide to do, especially when it comes to dialogue and presentations, you need to really commit to it. Ask yourself how prepared you are to do what you need to do. Do you have the time and inclination to rehearse? If you’re going to use a new tool you need to practice, practice and practice again, regardless of how simple it appears to be. We’ve seen Prezi, interactive pdfs and even blackboard and chalk go wrong because teams haven’t made the time to practice before the big day.

The Gimmick Question

So you have your plan – you’re all going to wear matching accessories on the day of the presentation. It’s passed the relevance question because your intel has told you that it’ll definitely go down well with the evaluation panel. Your team has got together a few times to make sure that you all know how to synchronise your accessorising. In other words, you are prepared. But there’s one last question you need to ask yourself (preferably in the mirror, at this point).

What are we actually adding? If you can’t answer that fundamental question clearly and quickly, then the chances are I’m afraid that you have a gimmick on your hands.

Trust Your Bid and Your Team

There’s nothing wrong with trying something new, and with the three questions above you’ll be able to quickly tell whether you’re on a path to doing something that will have genuine positive impact on your bid.

But it’s really all about the strength of your bid and what you are offering, so our advice is to invest your time and effort into developing something really compelling for your client. Put your faith in your bid and your team rather than the latest fads, and you’re bound to win more.


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