Guerrilla Intelligence Find the Decision Maker

Be sure you understand the client's buying process. The real buyer of services may have delegated the discovery work to nondecision makers who don't fully understand the project's objectives and risks. It might be a member of the procurement department or a committee. Procurement and selection committee members may lack the authority to make a decision, but they often have veto power over candidates.

Meet and discuss the project with the decision maker so you can prepare the most responsive proposal for the project. Tread lightly, though, and reach the decision maker through those involved in the selection process. If you alienate them by going over their heads, you could find yourself out of the competition.

process for selecting consultants rarely exists. So ask the client who will select the consultant what criteria will be used, and if a deadline has been set for making the decision. From the answers, you'll know instinctively whether a selection process exists. If it doesn't, suggest one or more workable approaches.

6. Does the client have an incumbent consultant who is bidding on the project? Incumbents often have preferred status with clients for new projects, and you must know what you are up against. That doesn't mean you should pass on the project, but it could change your tactics.

7. Is your firm interested in the work? Ask yourself if the proposed project would be challenging and valuable for your firm. Identify the benefits the firm would receive in addition to fees. They could include building new client relationships, enhancing the consultants' skills, entering a new service area, or working with experts in a particular specialty.

8. What are the potential opportunity costs? When consultants pursue leads, they often forgo other projects. Perhaps you won't be able to work on a proposal for another client, develop a new service, or take a vacation. Though opportunity costs can be difficult to quantify or predict without a crystal ball, assess the possibilities and carefully weigh them before you begin the sales process.

9. Why did the client call you? Often, this is the most revealing question you can ask. The answer can tell you what the client thinks of your firm and if you're being considered to round out a field of candidates or because of some obligation. If the

0 0

Post a comment