Having worked with several trade contracting businesses, I’ve observed a very common, but inefficient, behaviour: going after big contracts before thinking about the fit.

Often, companies will spend months preparing a proposal only to see it rejected.

2016-11 - A business winning formula: Business fit. Business value. Long-term relationships.

Spend your time where you can be most successful

So how do you stop wasting time on quotes that don’t win business? Before allocating resources to a tender process, it’s vital to qualify every opportunity.

Make sure that you’re focusing on those contracts you know you’re best placed to win. The most successful contractors are the ones who know best about finding the right fit contract.

At durhamlane, we’ve created nine business mantras which help us and our clients to work more effectively and focus on where we can be most successful.

Business fit. Business value. Developing long-term relationships. is our first and possibly most important mantra and it’s where your journey will begin.

Business fit

Don’t rush into a bidding process. The buying party is looking for a reliable partner – somebody who can solve their problem – so take the time to really understand all the issues that have led the buyer to look for outside help.

If you don’t think you can genuinely help them, then don’t waste your resources. Focus on a different area.

Business value

Naturally, your customers are seeking a solution that adds more value to them than they have to invest.

Make sure the value of your offering, and the expected returns, are presented clearly and the benefits to your customers are evident.

What value do you think you can add? Based on your research, where do you think you can make the biggest difference?

Tendering is not just a form-filling and box-ticking exercise; it's about selling your services. Highlight any other sectors or relevant experiences that you've had and demonstrate how you have helped other clients.

Developing long-term relationships

Business fit and business value are imperative principles to win new customers. Yet you should also recognise the cost efficiencies to be gained by sustaining long-term relationships with your customers. In fact, nurturing clients for the long term is proven to be eight to ten times more cost effective than simply securing quick wins.

To sustain relationships on a long-term basis and create customers for life, you need to start thinking about being a ‘partner’ to your customers. If you think of it that way, you’re more likely to add value and nurture a mutually beneficial relationship.

As a partner, you think more long-term and you are more proactive. You start to understand what your client really needs to be able to achieve their goals.

By keeping the Business fit. Business value. Developing long-term relationships. mantra at the core of what you do in your business, you’ll be able to improve your resource allocation and create more value for your customer in the long term.