Chapter 5

Sizing Up Your Competition


Figuring out your competitors

Competing against incumbents

Talking yourself up

In Chapters 3 and 4, we show you how you can find out about and build relationships with your customers and then express what you’ve found out in the structure and content of your proposals. Lurking behind all this information are your competitors:

  • Who are they?
  • What kind of relationship do they have with your customer?
  • Do they know what you know?
  • Do they know things you don’t?
  • Do you know things they don’t?
  • Do you know things about them that your customer doesn’t but should?

In this chapter, we discuss your competition — those who try to crash your proposal party with your customer. We talk about what to do if they’re the incumbent. We talk about what to do about them if you’re the incumbent. And we talk in either instance about ways to champion your cause over your competitors’ while remaining in line with your customer’s needs.

We go a little deeper in this chapter, getting to the “putting words on paper” stage perhaps a little early in the game, but the concept warrants the dive. In a proposal, your customers — your readers — are your most important consideration. But customers have little voices over their shoulders — from you and your competitors — that try to sway their opinions and perspectives. Considering, understanding, and even appreciating your competitors as you begin to write your proposal can have a considerable effect on your chances ...

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