Language training suppliers often fail to progress past the quotation phase from businesses seeking language improvement for employees. The arduous process of trying to win the client over adds to the blow of rejection. To lessen odds of defeat, readiness is key: be aware of the five most common mistakes language training suppliers make in response to proposals.
1: Failure to correctly understand the needs of the business
Providing the client has produced a well-prepared proposal, you should have a clear idea of how they view their ideal vendor (your criteria, the quality of your training, etc.) as well as what they want (budget, schedule, project details). But is there anything they aren’t telling you? With guaranteed competition, it’s necessary to go the extra mile and research. Analyze the client’s awarding selection criteria and weights that are crucial to your win and use them as starting points for investigation.
George Deeb, Managing Director at the successful B2B and B2C growth expert company Red Rocket Ventures, claims that understanding the client is the most important aspect of responses to proposals. Simply interspersing the company’s logo and images into your response is a strategy he believes converts the company to have confidence in your comprehension of their objectives.
2: Proposing an off-the-shelf solution for a problem that needs specific and tailored solving
According to DeltaBid, an e-sourcing platform, half of the RFQ or RFP process (right up to the close) is preparation. The client has a strong idea of who and what they want and don’t begin tender until halfway through the cycle. Don’t put in less effort than they have; match it or (far better) give more. Research and tailor your solution.
A quality proposal provides a point of contact so use it to determine if your potential solution is on target. However, be aware that the client will distribute questions and answers from all vendors (often after submissions have been narrowed down), so be strategic and somewhat cautious when asking. Remember that reaching out to the client directly can result in disqualification.
3:Not providing confidence that the solution can be scaled at low cost and flexibility to meet the needs of staff across global offices
If it isn’t clearly defined in the criteria, assume that low cost across global offices is going to be a ‘must-have’. It will be ranked against your competitors, so anticipate. Score your costs and create estimated cost scores (using your own research) for your competitors. Reflect, amend and reduce the likelihood of making this common mistake.
The pricing section of the proposal response is critical and should be provided as an attached document. According to Greg Ayres from ProfitWell, a business intelligence platform, including detailed pricing of every step of the process allows you to justify your abilities. You need to demonstrate the added value you are adding.
4: Not proving that they can deliver industry-specific language solutions
Instilling confidence in your client, regarding your language solutions, can come from the reliability of your quality control process. Do you have editors and translators? List the steps you take to provide industry-specific accuracy.
If you have experience of working with the client’s target industry, mention it in the introductory content. Then, in more relevant, qualifying detail put it in the outline of the approach you plan to take. Get testimonials and place them in a ‘recommendations’ section at the end of your response.
Bear in mind that the client is highly likely to view your site. Do you have business testimonials there? Do you give access to sample course outlines that convey the importance of industry-specific language? Optimize your chances.
5. Not able to address the modern-day business needs of the busy employee
Today, clients often see flexible schedules and the 24/7 availability of teachers is essential. Training apps are excellent for busy employees and a recent study showed that six-minute videos and bite-sized learning best suit the modern workplace. If you don’t have teachers available around the clock or a multi-platform with friendly training solutions to offer, it’s tough to meet the business needs of today’s clients. Expand on what you have in a ‘deliverables and schedules’ section, which should come after the plan of action. Remember, flexibility and availability are key.
When considering these five language training supplier mistakes, notice the common theme. Clients want to be heard by a language training vendor whose solutions they have confidence in. If competence leads to confidence, strong research and brilliantly-developed responses will bring you success.