“Ego can make you assume that your competition is not as good as it actually is, and that is a recipe for disaster.”

Paul B. Brown, author

An important way to show that you are commercial is to win a contest for new business. Sometimes a client decides to create a formal process to award a specific transaction. This contest can be called a pitch, a bake-off, or a beauty contest. The process is sometimes initiated by a document called a request for proposals (RFP). An RFP is a solicitation, often made through a bidding process, by a company interested in the procurement of service, to potential service providers to submit business proposals.

A bake-off is a situation in which several firms compete for a client's business. If you want to be successful commercially, you must realize winning bake-offs is an art and a science. There is a lot at stake. If you are the incumbent adviser, winning will solidify your relationship with the client as you work together to solve an important problem. Winning also can broaden the number of connections between client employees and your colleagues while helping your firm earn important revenues and expand its reputation. On a personal basis, being on the winning team will expand your skill set and enhance your commercial reputation. Some incumbents will make the mistake of having a chip on their shoulder because they resent being asked to compete for a deal they believe they have a right to receive rather than go ...

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