I had an interesting day today because for once I was on the other side of a proposal meeting. I was on the consultant side before, bringing proposals to the prospective clients, whereas today, I was the client, taking a look at the presentations of three prospective vendors.
My take-away from this experience are these three points, which is really a no-brainer at all:
1. The expectation from the first vendor who presents is very high. I had extremely high expectations from the first vendor I met, but it was a letdown, bringing me to my next point.
2. The professionalism of the vendor counts a whole lot. The familiarity of the vendor on the subject matter count a whole lot more. You have to really know your stuff, and you need to give me the confidence that you can solve my problem and bring solutions.
3. You have to keep to the point, and even if you want to be creative and give me something fresh, it must hit the nail in the head. And this was the fault of one of the vendors. They wanted to be different but they failed to keep to scope and where they were on scope, they fell short.
This was interesting also because I had dinner with a good friend yesterday evening when I found that she is currently working with my ex-colleagues from the consulting firm I was in before.
She also described to me in brief what happened during the proposal meetings presented by the Big-4 firms, two of which were represented by my ex-colleagues. One lost because they just did not impress and did not seem to know what they were talking about. The other won the deal because they nailed every questions the client had even before they were asked.
It was intriguing for me to hear her stories, opinions and feelings as I had never been on the client side before. And today, seated on this side of the game, even though on a much, much smaller project compared to hers, I had a sense of satisfaction having completed a full circle as far as my own experience in this area is concerned.