Strategy in Short-listed Presentations

strategy_in_presentationsYou receive the following email:

Congratulations. You’ve been selected as one of the three supplier finalists in our RFP process for our (fill in the blank) service contract.

We’re requesting your firm make a presentation to our selection committee to help us make the final supplier selection.

You’ll have 45 minutes to present and another 15 minutes for Q&A. We’re requesting you address the following agenda:

  • Tell us about your company
  • Tell us how you’d approach serving our sites
  • Your experience serving similar facilities as ours
  • Describe the quality processes, safety programs & technology you use to support the delivery of your services

The Supplier’s Strategy Questions

So now you have to decide how you’re going to prepare for this presentation. And as importantly, how you’ll lead your presentation and your team. If I were you, I’d be asking myself the following questions. And since I am myself, I’ve answered them IMHO.

Q: How do we present all our firm has to offer in 45 minutes plus another 15 of answering questions?

A: You can’t.

Knowing you can’t do it all provides the freedom to be creative and do what’s needed in the presentation.

Q: If we can’t present everything to the selection committee, what do we present?

A: Whatever is important to the decision makers.

Whatever they need to hear to help them make their decision in your favor.

Q: How do I know what that is?

A: Ask them.

Right there, right then, in the presentation, ask what information they’re specifically looking for. Each decision maker will have a slightly different interest, they bring their own agendas.

You’re job is to serve their data gathering needs in those few minutes you’ve been given. They’re looking for info about what you’ll bring to them.

If you’re highly capable in an area they’re interested in, but don’t get to bring it up because of poor presentation skills….well, too bad.

Those decision makers won’t think you cut the mustard. You’ve failed in the presentation, even though your firm is stellar in that area.

Ideally you’re due diligence had dug that info up pre-RFP, and you’d included it in your written proposal.

Q: How can I present the info they’re interested in when I don’t know what it is until I start the presentation?

A: Two requirements.

#1. You’re presentation slideshow needs to be interactive and client-driven. Think hyperlinks and navigation.

#2. You’re presentation team needs to engage decision makers in a conversation, not talking at them for 63 slides. Think dialog, not monologue. Think length and depth of spoken responses, concise and compelling. Think which of your team speaks on each topic.

Presentation Strategy Pitfalls

You don’t want to do these:

Follow the agenda without deviation

Good children do this and get a few points for following directions…while bad children win the contract by taking the agenda as a guideline from which to selectively deviate for their own good.

Try to cover too much

Honestly, what will decision makers remember when you’ve dumped 52 programs and processes on them?

Have your most senior team member speak a lot

Decision makers know that person won’t be doing the day to day work. It’s more likely to sound like the top dog is arrogantly stating their own self-importance.

What presentation strategy do you use when short-listed?

Chris Arlen
President, Revenue-IQ

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