You are in the final stages of an important bid and now have a Bid Interview / Presentation to prepare for. In many ways, this is like a job interview and success will come from thorough preparation and making a persuasive connection with your interviewers. The 10 tips below will help you to optimise this important part of the bid process and increase your win prospects.
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – this includes getting the date (or possible dates) in the calendars of your relevant people. Ensure you know exactly where the interview location is and allow plenty of contingency so that you will be there at least 30 minutes early to orient yourself and ensure a smooth set-up. Check in advance re the availability of presentation equipment e.g. projector and screen, etc.
2. Team Selection – start by finding out who will be on the client panel and who they would like to see from the bidder’s team. Whilst you need some senior people to show the company’s commitment to the new contract, the buyer will also be very interested in seeing the people who will actually delivering the contract e.g. Contract Manager, Resident Liaison Officer, etc.
3. Client Brief – Follow the client brief and don’t be afraid to give them a call to sense check your understanding of it. Create exciting slide headings e.g. if the brief asks for Your Company Approach to this Contract, your slide heading could be Our Approach Guarantees Exceptional Delivery and Quality. Continually answer the Why You? and So What? questions.
4. Evidence – Be prepared to demonstrate your Track Record, Performance Achievements, Customer Satisfaction, Testimonials, etc. Consider brief Case Studies and draw your evidence from similar organisations / sectors to the client.
5. Maintain Client Focus – Whilst the interview questions and your own enthusiasm may lead you to focus on your own organisation, remember that successful bids have a very clear focus on the client and their customers / service users.
6. Collateral – Produce a high quality leave behind document for each member of the interview panel (take a few extras along as there may be more people there than originally indicated). You can include some extra relevant information here that you would not get time to cover in the interview.
7. Timing – Give careful thought to structuring a coherent presentation. Each member of your interview team should have a role – manage transitions carefully. Do not have too many slides. 1-3 slides per 5 minutes is usually enough. They already have your written bid … now they want to see and hear from you.
8. Video – Consider a short 2-3 minute video either for the start or the end of your presentation. If this can include some specific points about the client and this contract, then you could be on to a winner!
9. Strong Close – Have a strong close prepared – reasons to select you and what you will guarantee for the client. Remember to ask them if they have any further questions and to thank them for their time.
10. Critical Friend – Have someone who is not close to the opportunity sit in on your practice session. Perhaps get them to play the part of the interviewer. Ask them to be very honest with you on what is landing well and, importantly, what is unclear or missing from your presentation. This is when engaging an external Bid Expert can add significant value to your preparations.
Finally, if you have done your preparation, then you may be able to enjoy the experience!