Constructor - September/October 2014 - (Page 33)

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Proposals That Win Work BY CYNTHIA PAUL CHAIR OF AGC'S BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FORUM MANAGING DIRECTOR, FMI, INC. IN LIGHT OF THIS MONTH'S AGC Building Contractors Conference in Austin, Texas, I thought it only fitting to address a major topic generating a lot of discussion across our industry - finding customers who value the work we do over the lowest price tag. This year's conference focuses on AEC collaboration, but there will also be an entire breakout session put on by AGC's Business Development Forum on creating the types of proposals that will give you the edge to win work. Because, after all, what's collaboration without the job? As an industry, we are finally coming up for air from one of the most difficult economic downturns in recent history. During the recession, customers began to demand lower and lower prices, and  @Constr uctor Ma g our industry was quick to comply in an attempt to win one of fewer jobs available in their area. Yet even with the economic upturn over the last several months, far too many contractors maintain this mind set when entering the bidding process. And now, this type of lowest-cost approach will start costing the contractor. So how do you capture the client's attention and get them to consider pricing as only one part of the value proposition? Well, first you must get smart about which opportunities are right for you and your company. You have to have an objective way to evaluate which projects you should invest time and effort into winning and which ones are really just going to devolve to price-only selection. That means getting smart about where you can offer a unique strategy or approach. You have to stand out from the pack and that doesn't mean flashing attractive price points on a PowerPoint presentation. Ask yourself this - what would make paying you a bit more money the smart choice by the customer? What are you offering the client that is unique? By the time that you're short-listed for an opportunity, the customer knows you can build it. But now the client is looking for an approach that stands out, because, without any material differences in the proposals, the deciding factor will be price and price alone. Your winning strategy has to be compelling - something the client has not seen before. Your reasoning must extend beyond great teamwork, pre-construction services, or staying on schedule and under budget. This is what a majority of your competitors are already saying. Ask yourself these questions and position yourself to win work: What do you do better than any other competitor? Where are you similar? If your competitors have weak spots, how can you prove your worth in that particular area? What are your competitors likely to offer and how is your approach more innovative? You are going to need to get smart about the competition to be successful in crafting the win strategy. And you're going to need to position yourself for the proposal - find out what the client needs and wants before the RFP ever hits the streets. So, make the concerted effort to meet with your colleagues and team members to figure out your strengths and your weaknesses. Play to your strengths, address any weaknesses, and start crafting the type of proposal that will win you work. ◆ S E P T E MB E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 4 | 33

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Constructor - September/October 2014

Editor’s Note
President’s Message
CEO’s Letter
All for One and One for All
Elector Set
The Construction Advocacy Fund: Funding the Fight
New Revenue Recognition Standard Developed With Construction Industry Input
Business Development
Enhancing the Design and Impact of Company Websites
Construction’s Crystal Ball
Simonson Says
AGC in Action
Squeaky Clean Construction
Spray Polyurethane Foam: A Candid Look
Technology Toolbox
Legislative and Regulatory News
Member and Chapter News
2014 Insurance Directory
Government Affairs
Index to Advertisers
Final Inspection

Constructor - September/October 2014