Under-appreciated Things That Winning Bidders Do: Communicate Well

While we have more modes of communication than ever before with phones, cell phones, texts, emails and the like, communication actually seems harder than ever. Effective partnerships require communication and not just when the vendor wants to be paid or wonders why their payment is “late.”

Highly successful vendors are proactive in communicating throughout both the bidding process and then especially during the awarded work period. Vendors who are just reactive to communication from the entity are far less effective than vendors who communicate with the entity proactively. Constant communication with the entity is critical to a great partnership.

Great vendors are communicating (in the mode the entity prefers) constantly. They inquire about what is working well, what is not working well, changes in the industry, product or service improvements and workloads.

Also, and perhaps more importantly, the vendor is asking questions. What is changing at the entity? What are upcoming major events? Is the workload increasing? Are key staff members going to be unavailable for an extended period of time and the like.

Whether in friendships, marriages, athletic teams or within a business, effective communication is critical to success. Effective communication is difficult to specify in a bid document, but it is nonetheless critical to success. Winning vendors and outstanding business partners understand this and establish highly effective communication. In these situations, the entity may not even recognize that excellent communication channels exist and, thus, under appreciate it. Nonetheless it is still critical.

Terry McKee has 30 years’ experience in public procurement including with Knox County, Knox County Schools and, currently, is the IT and Procurement Director at Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation-the Public Housing Authority. Additionally, Terry has served on NIGP’s consulting team since its inception in 1995. Terry holds a bachelors’ degree from Alderson Broaddus College (Education and Political Science) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from UT. He was awarded NIGP’s “Purchasing Manager of the Year” 2017. Terry lives in Rockford, Tennessee.





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