Vendor Challenges – Dealing with Decision Makers and Influencers

As a vendor, one of the most important challenges you’ll face when bidding on a project for any property will be figuring out exactly who will make the decision to hire you – PLUS – who else might influence that decision.

Who is the “Decider” and who is the “Influencer”?

Answering this question, in every situation, will be critical to the successful resolution of your bids on any project. Understanding the difference is the first step while making sure that you appeal to both (or all), will speed the process and improve your chances of success.

Who’s’ who in the bidding process?

The terms “Decision Maker” and “Influencer” are somewhat arbitrary labels. The fact is, until everyone with the power to affect the final solution buy-in, and any ensuing change is managed, the decision to accept your bid will remain in limbo, regardless of how well your solution matches the needs of the proposed project.

Of course, the larger the company you’re dealing with, the more difficult it is to determine who will decide to accept your bid and who will sway the decision. At times, even the people in the organization will have trouble defining their roles in the process. Internal politics and personalities can influence the bid-acceptance process. Experience and patience are critical elements you can use to enhance your chances.

With all of that being said, there are some steps you can take to help the process along, and to direct your bid to anyone and everyone who may have the power to influence the decision-making process:

  • Follow the bidding process – exactly as outlined in the Project RFP.
  • Be on time with your bid – and timely with your responses to all questions and requests for more information.
  • Anticipate objections – and use the RFP to clarify potential problem areas before they arise.
  • Perform due diligence – to learn as much as you can about the personalities involved.
  • Research the roles – of every member of the team that may have input into the bid-acceptance process.

While this process is not perfect, following these steps will improve your chances that your potential client’s team will have all of the necessary information at their disposal, enabling both decision makers and influencers to more readily accept your bid.

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