Knowing your Government Procurement Purchasing Buyer
Do not do unto others as you expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.
– George Bernard Shaw
Not another quote from George Bernard Shaw! It’s a pithy one that flies in the face of the spirit of the original that your mother would love you to live by.
The conventional wisdom about accountants is that they are boring, lack creativity and only listen to the safe and conventional music offered up on the local mainstream radio station. Imagine our surprise when we come across the company financial controller at a Dead Kennedys gig with safety pins in his nose and superglue in his hair.
What about the recently deceased upstanding pillar of society who was president of the local chamber of commerce and led the community scout troop? Three months later everyone is hit for six when they find out that he had multiple affairs and died penniless.
Nothing is as it appears on the surface, and the same goes for that nice and respectable person who may be interested in buying your company’s services. Your pitch may flawlessly address the transparent requirements set out in a Request for Tender (RFT), but so will that of your competitors. Every buyer will have personal tastes, beliefs and desires that drive the decisions he or she makes. Typically these are not obvious or spelled out in an RFT or any other company documentation issued.
For instance, a buyer may have had a number of bad experiences when suppliers were initially transitioning their services. It stands to reason that he or she is going to have a keen interest in your track record of carrying out smooth transitions that don’t have a negative impact on clients. A buyer may believe that local onshore services are more reliable than those delivered from an offshore location. This knowledge could either persuade you to change your service from offshore to onshore, or else to provide cast iron proof that gives comfort that your offshore service is indeed reliable.
It’s therefore important to develop as close a relationship as is feasibly possible with them in order to develop a visceral understanding of their needs, and crucially what they actually think of you and what you do.
More often than not you’re not going to develop this relationship and understanding by sitting at your desk and reading LinkedIn profiles. You’re going to have to get to know the person through a mix of face-to-face meeting and other intelligence gathering methods such as attending trade fairs, meet and greets, and reading industry specific journals and publications among other things.
Once you’ve built up a profile of the buyer’s beliefs and needs, you can pitch your services in a way that addresses their company’s requirements but also hits the buyer’s individual sweet spots.
Hopefully this article will have impressed upon you the importance of knowing and understanding your Government Procurement Purchasing Buyer‘s needs and concerns.
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