The key to successful proposals or indeed any bidding process is to win the client’s trust. This may seem obvious but it is surprising how often this simple technique is overlooked. Here is where a good Presales process is important.

When an enquiry comes in, it is pretty likely that the first step would be to arrange a meeting with the client, usually at the premises in question. First impressions counts for a lot in this initial meeting, as does a professional presentation and friendly amicable approach. The aim is to get the client to relax and open up about their needs, therefore building a good rapport quickly can pay big dividends here.

Once everyone is comfortable, it would be a good point to do a bit of discovery about the client, their workstyle, their culture and ethos, their aspirations, what they value in their work, etc. This provids invaluable insight into what capabilities the systems proposed would need to accommodate, which is key in aligning the proposal to the client’s needs. This is where a simple client discovery tool is invaluable in ensuring all the important areas are covered and recorded. We try to avoid getting too deep into product at this point as early suggestions might not meet the client’s requirements or budget later on.

Once all the relevant info is in the notes, we finish up the meeting by setting a realistic timeline of when the client would have their proposal. After the initial meeting if there isn’t a clear direction to take with the proposal, it may be a good idea to produce more than one. A good, better, best approach may often work wonders with a client unfamiliar with the numbers involved in smart building technology. By building the largest best proposal first the bulk of the work was out of the way. In a copy of this proposal, a bit of value engineering and some different component sets could be used to scale the cost back by about 20-25%. By scaling this back again with another copy to the bare minimum system that met the minimum performance requirements, we would produce the most basic option.

Next, the Presales has to talk the client through what was proposed and make the final adjustments as per the client's feedback. Communicating the concept proposed properly and being able to make adjustment on the fly gives the best chance of winning that job. Once the job is won, the final task for the Presales team is to brief the engineering team on the design basis. Getting a proper handover done to the engineering team is extremely critical as the Presales team needs to pass on the communications and the expectations of the client as well.