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34 customer considerations that prove you don’t know them as well as you think you do

When the customer thinks about the big picture, what's in the picture?

What goes through the customer’s head while they’re evaluating your proposal? In addition to all of the distractions like what time they have to pick the kids up from school today or what they’d like to do after work, the customer has a lot to consider when deciding whether to accept your proposal. Even if the evaluation is conducted formally by a robot, with forms and detailed procedures, they will still consider the big picture. But what’s in that picture?

The customer will consider your approaches, qualifications, and pricing. But they will also consider:

See also:
Information Advantage
  1. Is it enough? Big enough, small enough, cheap enough, expensive enough, fast enough?
  2. Their own environment
  3. The risks they face
  4. Whether they can trust you
  5. Their preferred approach or solution
  6. How much confidence they have in your proposed offering
  7. What the future will be like if they accept your proposal
  8. Their aspirations for the future
  9. Their disappointments
  10. Their questions
  11. Things they’d like to try
  12. Things they’d like to avoid
  13. Whether you speak the same language they do (and nationality might have nothing to do with it)
  14. What they’ll have to do if they accept your proposal
  15. Whether they want to work with you
  16. Things that have changed or are going to change
  17. Whether they want the kind of change you are proposing
  18. Pricing and financial considerations
  19. Contractual matters
  20. Rules and regulations
  21. Standards, measures, and specifications
  22. Conflicts for their attention
  23. The problems encountered with other vendors in the past
  24. External pressures
  25. Input from all of their stakeholders
  26. Timing
  27. Trends
  28. What they know. And what they don’t know.
  29. The path of least resistance
  30. Whether they could be making a mistake
  31. Whether there will be resistance to their decision
  32. Accountability
  33. What their organization needs
  34. What they as an individual prefer

When a company that thought they had the opportunity wired loses, there’s a good chance it’s because they missed one of these. When someone tells you "they know" what the customer wants, ask them questions based on these. We rarely know the customer as well as we might claim.

But the better way to look at it is as ways to get to know the customer. I mean really get to know them. Think of this list as discussion topics. When the customer sees you as an asset instead of a vendor and cares enough about you as a person to share their world, these are topics to explore.

However you approach it, your win probability is determined by how well you know all the things the customer will consider during evaluation. The reason we use terminology like “discovering what it will take to win” and “building an information advantage” in the MustWin Process that is available to PropLIBRARY subscribers is that knowing more of these things than your competitors gives you a critical advantage over them. Of course, that’s only true if you:

  • Convert the intelligence you gather into insights that will impact the proposal
  • Use your insights to position what you offer in your proposal in ways that prove you are the customer’s best alternative
  • Demonstrate to the customer that you are the most thought through vendor
  • Add the most value
  • Prove that getting to know each other is worth the investment you both made and point to the even greater things your continued partnership will achieve in the future

The premium content PropLIBRARY subscribers gain access to shows you how to do all these things as well.

Or you could just wait for the customer’s announcement, put effort into a proposal without any customer insights, and hope that today’s the day that all of your competitors' proposals will somehow be weaker than your proposal.

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More information about "Carl Dickson"

Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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