Exploiting weaknesses in your competitors approach, or ghosting as it is now more prosaically known is a subtle method of casting doubt in the minds of the evaluators over the solutions, approaches and track records of competitors, without naming them.
This week’s blog installment from our partners at twentysix2 ‘Exploiting weaknesses in your competitor’s approach’
Ghosting draws attention to their weaknesses and provides an opportunity for bidders to emphasise their own strengths.
There are opportunities to ghost throughout the proposal lifecycle: in the capture phase, when developing the solution and at the proposal stage.
When presenting your solution, describe aspects of your approach which are important to the customer in ways which competitors cannot match. Ghost the solutions of competitors by describing how they were first considered and then eliminated, explaining the risks and giving the reasons why an alternative solution was considered preferable. If you expect a potential competitor to offer a low-cost solution, draw attention to how the potential risks of their solution significantly outweigh any apparent cost benefits.
Similarly, examine various approaches to the management of the project which your competitors may have proposed, explaining the superiority of your approach and demonstrating improved outcomes for the customer. If you propose teaming, you might emphasise the benefits of the wider pool of expertise and describe the selection criteria by which partners were chosen and by inference, others rejected. Conversely, if you propose an in-house team, emphasise the potential risks associated with teaming.
Where possible, use testimonials in your proposals from independent bodies (or existing clients) to provide impartial validation which supports ghosting – the more credible the source appears to your customer the better. Third-party validation of an outstanding safety record might ghost a competitor who has recently experienced safety issues; a customer testimonial relating to response times or service levels might ghost the struggling performance of an incumbent.
Finally, consider how your competitors might ghost your solution, approach, and track record and how you can credibly pre-empt what competitors may say about your perceived weaknesses.
A note of caution. Don’t expect your proposal team to identify shortcomings in their own proposals – they will be too close to the action. Instead, review your competitive strategy periodically with an independent team who know the customer and likely competitors.
Some may caution against overuse but the influence of ghosting on proposal evaluators is largely subliminal. The cumulative effect of ghosting creates a competitive edge which can be the difference it takes to win business.
Points to consider:
- How does the customer perceive your competitors, their solutions and track records?
- How can you exploit weaknesses in your competitor’s approaches?
- Can you provide impartial validation to support your claims?
- How does the customer perceive you, your approach and your solution?
- What will competitors say about your solution, approach or track record?
- Do you have weaknesses that can be exploited by your competitors?
- How can you pre-empt any perceived weaknesses?
Author: Ian Sherwood CPP.APMP, Bid and Proposals Director, twentysix2
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