The writing style of this blog is pretty informal. Part of the reason I keep up this blog is that I can quickly jot down some ideas or problems when I need to get feedback and, through the fantastic bidding community, I get interesting views and help in return. Keeping the language, style and content informal is a big part of keeping the blog authentic and honest.

If we consider what makes people buy services, products or a solution there are essentially two factors at play. 1. Does it do what I need it to do? and 2. Do I actually want it?

The first factor is where most of us focus. It’s not purely the fault of bid teams, buyers often frame questions around this first factor: 

“Describe how your product achieves X.” 

“Set out what value you provide through Y.” 

“Provide examples of where Z has been successfully deployed before.”

But, it’s the human factor that sways a buying decision; does the buyer really want your service or product? And ultimately, do they want you!

I was listening to the RFP Success Show on the train this week and heard this great stat from Lisa Rehurek; over 80% of buyers believe and place more value on a reference from a client where you had a problem and resolved it over a perfect reference from a client. 

It sounds strange, but if you screwed up and had to fix the problem people think you’re more believable than those who just sound ‘too perfect’. Its human nature – we trust those who show some humility and whose experiences match ours. We all know things go wrong, so being honest and authentic when writing your case studies or telling stories in a pitch interview helps to build rapport and may actually help you win more work.

So how can we be more honest in our writing? Well, language, the story you tell, the way you communicate with the client all build your authenticity. When writing, using a more conversational style where the client can easily follow your narrative, understand your points and put your solution in the context of their business will score you higher marks. And when selecting case studies, references and testimonials and being honest play to your advantage. 

I'm yet to test out the theory and openly write about a problem project rather than a perfect one, but perhaps it's something I'll test soon! Let's hope Lisa is right...