It’s always fascinating to hear from those on the buying side. I started my career in purchasing before switching to proposals, and still spend as much time as possible with those who evaluate our documents, listening to their views. (Actually, it strikes me that there’s an important question to ask proposal consultants hoping to work with your organisations: “When did you last have a paid engagement with purchasing folks, or publish research based on their views?”)
That’s why I was delighted when Kevin Treeby, Director of Procurement for the House of Commons, agreed to give the keynote presentation at the recent conference, “Taking proposals to the next level.”
I sat at the back of the room, noting down as many of his comments as I could. Here are a few of my favourites:
“We have a fear and distrust of people who sell us things.”
“I hate people who shuffle the answers” and whose proposals don’t reflect the structure of the RFP.
“Don’t tell me it can’t go wrong. Tell me what you’ll do if it does.”
“Don’t hold anything back” from your proposal to your presentation. “There’s no such thing as a nice surprise in a bid presentation.”
“It all comes down to confidence” in the bidders and their teams.
“Many buyers are frightened – I daren’t risk a legal challenge.”