Quoting corporate consulting jobs can be tricky. Out of the blue you’ve been asked to quote on a HUGE corporate consulting assignment!! Yay, you’re really keen to get this right!!
Maybe it’s not as great as it sounds. Read below an exchange on an online forum I participated in about just that situation.
Yay! a big corporate consulting quote!
I have just been invited by a global organisation cultural and education organisation to quote for:
1) 200 individual and team performance assessments
2) ‘design only’ of a 3 hour workshop ( they would deliver)
3) design and deliver performance and assessment workshop to 200 people.
They have asked for costs to do each of these for 200 global people.
I thought that I’d ask do you think that I should deal with this? It’s quite easy for me to price this up but I really don’t want to be in a tendering competition for a one off job like this. Especially as it out of the blue and I am immediately in a competitive situation.
Totally goes against what we’ve been taught, however corporates do need to go through some form of auditable buying process and form competitions in order to show fairness and cost control.
The challenge is how to
a) eliminate the competition
b) develop this into a longer term opportunity/programme.
My thoughts are
1) decline invite to tender saying that I don’t tender for work (create scarcity)
2) issue them a bait piece and a photo of the last large event I did like this (create desire)
3) turn them from a one off event into a programme by doing a ‘why stack slide’. (create expertise/marketing authority)
This may be a great (even transformational) corporate opportunity ( they have revenue of £1BN).
The mythical auditable buying process in quoting for corporate consulting
I can’t answer everything about quoting corporate consulting.
But I can say if the guy/woman with the purse-strings wants you then the “auditable buying process” is a figment of the underlings’ imaginations.
So make sure you’re talking to the right person before you even start that process (i.e. the one who can sign off your program). I’ve seen programs in major banks go forward because the CE or the Unit Head was “in love” with the process offered by some excellent sales person, and seen people (or been myself) blocked because I wasn’t talking high enough up the chain.
Keen to see what happens.
Are you the second (or third) quote?
Another participant responded: An auditable buying process sounds like they have made their decision but need 3 quotes to get the go ahead. Make them work for your quote to make sure it’s genuine.
So Gina responds with her plan:
Really great advice.
My plan is to
a) seek access the true sponsor and seek to pitch to them, get access, show my programme and results directly to them as per Cindy’s thoughts
b) recognise that they are probably going through the motions as I must be on Column B, and their preferred bidder is already on Column A and talking to them. Going to give it my best shot though.
I have also managed to completely by luck got some background intelligence on the situation. I am also looking at a strategic JV with a top 4 management consulting co as an option. Thank you for this and will keep you posted.
And in the end they were fishing
Update. I went back to them with a series of clarification questions 5 headings, 3 questions each (one was could I have access to meeting with the leader as you advised Cindy) = 15 questions. I knew that if they were serious that they would answer these in 30 mins (them working for my quote, as you advised) and if they weren’t serious, the questions would triage them out.
Within 90 minutes of my email, they replied to say that they had decided to self-deliver the event and project and apologised for inconveniencing me. I suspect this may been the intention all along or they have a preferred provider already.
I am actually pleased to have screened them out quickly, without any loss of my IP or pricing. Also have them as a new contact to market to later. Thank you All. Huge learning.
Quoting corporate consulting: What you can do
So check it out – don’t decline to quote, but do fish a little and be hesitant to reveal your IP and spend a day writing a quote that won’t be accepted. Tendering and being the second quoter is a reality of the corporate world, but you can play the game without wasting your time.
Here are some things you might do:
- Try Gina’s solution of sending them a series of questions to see if they’re serious
- Send A short email outlining top line costs (if you’re busy, this may be the best option) – if they want a bigger quote then they can ask for it
- Call them to smell out what the deal with – you can in fact ask “Am I just a second quote” if you feel it’s appropriate (or ask “Do you have a provider who works with you on this kind of thing already? If so, why are you looking at the rest of the market right now?” That usually sniffs it out.
Sometimes people have found you on the internet or by referral, and they are genuine. May that be the case every single time, and your work be constantly in demand! If not, you’ll have saved some time!
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