We often swap anecdotes between members of our team, and one such note recently provided the perfect illustration of the importance of understanding the customer’s evaluation team before you start to write a proposal.
One of his previous organisations submitted an investment proposal to a major UK retailer. The document and subsequent bid presentation were packed full of advanced technical information that could only be fully understood by evaluators with detailed knowledge of the investment and pensions market.
Unfortunately for them, the potential client, being a relatively enlightened organisation, had invited trade union representatives to act as two of their four pension fund trustees. The bid team were unaware of this, and their slick suits contrasted somewhat with the orange boilersuits worn by the two truck drivers on the opposite side of the table.
Half way through the presentation, one of the union reps interrupted:
“Bob and I tried to read your proposal but didn’t understand a word of it. We haven’t understood a word of your presentation either… We honestly don’t know the difference between an equity and a bond. And we don’t really want to know.
I’ve promised that I’ll take the wife for a cruise when I retire in ten years’ time. If we invest our pension money with you instead of the other people who’ve presented, will I be taking her round the Caribbean – or will we be catching the ferry to France?”