Why Organizing a Competitive Bidding for Consulting Can Be a Powerful Lever?

October 23, 2023

As an executive, your daily routine demands rapid decision-making and efficiency, leaving little room for hesitation. In the competitive world of business, time is often a luxury you can’t spare when it comes to critical choices. Yet, when launching competitive bidding for consulting, taking a measured approach can yield remarkable benefits.

“It is said that the best horses lose when they compete with slower ones and win against better rivals.” –  Nassim N. Taleb, the Antifragile book.

 When you are clear about your priorities and the reasons for seeking consulting services, you can embark on the quest to find the perfect fit for your specific project and organizational needs.

While it might seem convenient to tap into your existing pool of consulting providers, it’s important to recognize that the best consultant for one project may not be the ideal choice for the next.

In this fast-paced landscape, introducing an element of competition can be the powerful lever you need to ensure the success of your consulting endeavors.

To discover how to consistently engage top consultants, we invite you to explore our comprehensive guide, “7 Ways to Always Work with the Best Consultants.”

competitive bidding for consulting

Organizing a Competitive Bidding for Consulting

Why take the time to organize competitive bidding for consulting between consulting providers when it would be easier and faster to just go with the guy you already know?

For instance, when you enter an electronics store to buy a TV, do you get the same TV that you already have at home? Probably not. You want to compare the features between several products, look at the new fancy features, find the TV that would fit your ways of watching TV, and get great value for money.

So then, why not do the same when you are buying Consulting Services?

In regards to competitive bidding for consulting, it’s essential to explore multiple consulting providers to ensure you get the most competitive and advantageous offer. Just as you wouldn’t settle for the same TV you already own, you shouldn’t settle for a consultant without assessing your options through competitive bidding for consulting.

This process enables you to compare the expertise, pricing, and innovative approaches offered by different providers, ultimately ensuring that you receive the best value for your consulting services investment.

Comparing Skill Sets

Of course, It’s necessary to find a consultant who has solid experience, creative problem-solving skills, and great interpersonal skills. But how are you going to know the extent to which someone has these skills unless you have someone else to compare them to?

Let’s say you meet one consultant who impresses you with his impromptu pitch. You might be tempted to choose him, just so that you don’t have to meet with several different consultants, listen to their pitches, too, and read their proposals. After all, this will mean a lot of work for you.

However, if you do all this work, you may find that different consultants have different strengths. One might have great interpersonal skills, while another might have many more years of experience.

One might be endlessly creative and great with design, while another might be a lot more blunt and honest about what’s really needed for your organization. A good way of identifying strengths and weaknesses is also to check references on prior similar assignments.

For valuable insights into the proper approach for reference checks, we recommend reading this informative article: The Right Strategy to Check References for Consulting.

At this point, you’ll be better able to decide what’s more important to you. For some executives, the experience might be most impressive, while for others, creativity might be above all else. For those who have a hard time making people understand exactly what they need, interpersonal skills might be paramount.

When you organize a competitive bidding for consulting, i.e., a competition for consultants, you’re more likely to find one with the exact qualities you’re looking for.

Getting New Ideas

When executives outsource certain tasks, they might already have certain ideas about how those tasks should be done. But when you describe your functional needs and leave room for creativity in the solutions proposed, you get a variety of perspectives and you’re bound to come across some ideas you hadn’t thought of before.

In fact, this is the reason why people emphasize diversity in the workplace. When people from different backgrounds work together, they all tend to be more creative and come up with new ideas.

Let’s assume, for example, that you’re trying to change your company culture and make your business one of the best places to work for employees. One consultant might suggest that you offer employees small perks such as tickets for sporting events.

Another consultant might suggest that you change your interiors so that they are more conducive to productivity. A third might suggest that you dismantle the hierarchical structure of your organization.

When you organize competitive bidding for consulting, you’re likely to get more ideas which you had never thought of before. These might shed new light on the tasks that you’re trying to outsource and how they should be done.

Even if you don’t end up adopting all the ideas you come across, it can help you to at least take them into consideration.

Looking for the Right Fit

Many people in business believe that they should set their personal feelings aside and work purely from a logical, rational place. However, this is your business, and it’s sure to reflect who you are as a person.

So, when you hire people to join your business, you want them to understand you and work with you towards a common goal. This will be most harmoniously done if their values align with yours.

There are a number of consultants out there, and it’s quite likely that they’re all good ones. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re going to be right for you. And you need to feel like the consultant you’re working with gets you. You ought to feel like he’s treating you as a partner and not just trying to impress you with everything he can do.

Getting More for Your Money

Last but not least, there is a price advantage to organize a competitive bidding for consulting. If the consultants know that you will examine other offers, they will give their best efforts to design and price their proposal.

Of course, you could always argue that you will take the best for the job regardless of the price, but we all know what pressure on expenses the executives have to live with, especially operating expenses.

And therefore, the better the cost-for-value tradeoff will be, the easier it will be to convince your boss or your board that this consultant is the right choice.

How To Get Things Started?

Organizing competitive bidding for consulting goes beyond the mere symbolism or staging of a hollow spectacle; it’s an invitation for accomplished professionals to engage in a genuine rivalry.

But how can you guarantee authenticity in this contest and prevent it from becoming a choreographed performance?

competitive bidding for consulting

Establish Clear Intentions from the Outset

Prior to embarking on the competition journey, it is paramount to elucidate your core motivations. If the competition’s sole purpose is to fulfill a checkbox requirement or placate specific stakeholders, you may be embarking on an ill-conceived endeavor.

Consider that orchestrating competitive bidding for consulting is akin to preparing a gourmet five-course meal – it demands a significant investment of time, unwavering dedication, and substantial effort.

Maintain Fair Play

While it may be tempting to grant certain consultants with persuasive charisma an advantage, it’s crucial to resist such allure. All participants should be on an even playing field, with equal access to information and opportunities to captivate your attention. This isn’t a favoritism game; it’s a pursuit of excellence.

Adhere to the Golden Rule

Approach consultants with the same respect and professionalism that you expect in return. Disregard the stereotypes and myths that sometimes surround consultants as enigmatic beings or ruthless opportunists.

They are, at the core, professionals similar to yourself. If you wouldn’t appreciate being led astray in your own professional endeavors, extend the same courtesy to them.

Harness Equality as a Strategic Advantage

Leveling the playing field can often reveal unexpected frontrunners. Even the titans of the consulting industry, such as McKinsey, Bain & Company, and BCG, might roll up their sleeves and present you with an irresistible proposal if they sense a genuine opportunity.

Transparency as the Cornerstone

Right from the outset, transparency regarding your evaluation criteria is key. This doesn’t necessitate divulging your trade secrets, but it does entail communicating to contestants the metrics by which they will be assessed. Such transparency encourages consultants to craft proposals that are more customized and relevant to your specific needs.

Active Engagement and Collaboration

This is not a passive observation; it’s a participative process. Dive deep into the competition, actively engage with the consultants, pose probing questions, challenge their assumptions, and be open to their challenges in return. True collaboration often kindles fresh insights and fosters innovative solutions that may not have emerged otherwise.

By integrating these principles and putting consultants in competition, you create an environment where the most capable contenders can genuinely vie for success, ensuring that your endeavor is characterized by meritocracy and authenticity.

Moreover, it’s a good idea to evaluate and organize a competitive bidding for consulting. This will enable you to take an informed choice on what consultant is right for you on many levels such as skills, fit, and price.

Along the way, you may even go for ideas that are completely out the box you had yourself designed in your request for proposal.

Final Thoughts

The practice of organizing competitive bidding for consulting offers a unique and valuable perspective on decision-making and problem-solving within organizations.

By pitting multiple experts against each other, companies can extract the most innovative and effective solutions from a diverse pool of talents and ideas.

This approach not only fosters creativity and efficiency but also ensures that the chosen solution aligns closely with the company’s goals and objectives.

However, it is essential to recognize that while competition among consultants can yield remarkable results, it should be implemented judiciously.

Striking the right balance between collaboration and competition, setting clear evaluation criteria, and fostering a culture of respect and open communication are key factors in the success of this approach.

Ultimately, organizing competitive bidding for consulting should be viewed as a dynamic and strategic tool in an organization’s toolkit, one that, when wielded effectively, can lead to breakthrough insights, innovative solutions, and enhanced decision-making processes.

It serves as a testament to the importance of diversity, collaboration, and a commitment to excellence in the pursuit of organizational success.

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Helene Laffitte

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting. To find out more, visit the blog or contact her directly.

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