More often than not we enter into opportunities where competition exists. Our invitation to participate is procurement’s prerogative to balance out the bidding process. Unbeknownst to us, senior stakeholders usually have a predisposition.
As with most elements of the ValueSelling process, it is critical to uncover this scenario as early as possible. So, we ask and sometimes our contact will share, which is an ideal opportunity for us to understand all we can about how they are positioned. On occasion, the response we get is something like, “… at this stage of the evaluation, we’re not at liberty to share that information…” This response is a bit personal for me, as I have been burned by accepting this response and continued the campaign without knowing. SO– STOP!! STOP RIGHT THERE! You need to know the answer – because everything you do from here on out is time and work that you will never get back.
In order to uncover this scenario you should prepare a question that will give you a higher probability of getting what you need. I like, “Our portfolio is complex – In the spirit of fairness, and as part of our policy we must know who our competition is so that we’re addressing the same requirements.” Followed by an anxiety question… “Last year I accepted that response and as a result my contact failed to meet their objective and was fired.” It was my responsibility – I knew that the CXO was focused on XXX and could not share the facts with the selection committee because they could not let us know. It was my fault and I won’t allow that to happen again.”
It’s your time – increase your odds of winning by knowing all you can.