A Breezy Start to the Summer
Thoughts on the business of building relationships with clients....
Published on: 22nd May 2009
26th May 2009
Last week we put in a tender for a website for a local charity that is based in the West Dorset area. This is the first time in a little while that we've thrown our hat into the ring for a public / charity sector website. My usual reluctance to get involved with any tendering process was overcome by the impressive work that the charity does, and a personal wish to get involved and support their activities.
In the past we've spent considerable amounts of time working up tender documents for a handful of other public and charity sector pieces of work and been singularly unsuccessful. While I'm not narcissistic enough to think we deserved to win them all (or perhaps any of them), I was left feeling pretty disappointed after the process.
As with all our work I tend to work on 100% commitment to our clients and their cause, whether that is their commercial business, public service or personal development. In preparing to work with someone I like to get to know them and their work well enough to feel like I'm already on their team. Call it naive, but I think that this commitment makes for good work and good working relationships and I'll stand by that every time.
When preparing these public tenders I go through the same process; learning about the client; identifying with their work and aims; and generally putting a good deal of heart and soul into working out how we can be of service (often going beyond the call of duty in terms of our eventual service offering). Receiving a rejection in these situations is therefore quite a knock back, and while a rational voice in my head says that it's simply business; another part of me is feeling personally rejected.
My conclusion from these experiences has been to avoid them in the main, but this recent approach has captured my interest and we've decided to offer to help.
I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling ambivalent about the tendering process (a friend was telling me about a similar experience that he had just last week), but on this occasion I'm prepared to make the commitment again and offer to help; in spite of my awareness that our offer may not be accepted this time too. In short, it's not just about me / us is it, it's what's right for the client. So we'll wait in hope that we can lend a hand and see what decision the client makes in due course. I'll post an update when we hear the outcome.