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Architecture, Business, Selling, Winning New Business

Selling in a recession – Strategy not Tactics

At Grist Towers something interesting has happened. It’s something that may be a coincidence, but is worth mentioning. We are talking to 4 different large organisations across 4 completely different sectors about creating a long-term strategy for winning new projects.

Now you may not find that odd at all, but from where we sit this is a change.  We have worked on hundreds of bids, but most have been “tactical”. We have been brought in to help win this bid, right now.

Grist was born in the last boom, and we have long aware that there is boom time bidding – plenty of work we’ll bang in some EOI and bung in a PQQ if we don’t get this one there are plenty more on to the next one…

And there is recession bidding. When there are only 3 major projects coming up in the next year in your sector your attitudes change. The dreaded phrase “must win” starts to get used – with often no change in behaviour – but  a lot more stress for the individuals.


We are thrilled to talk strategy rather than tactics. We think of each bid as a campaign, where planning is the key. But, like most things in life, the basics don’t change much.

I often said to my kids when they were struggling with school work “You do new stuff every single day. In work you will find 90% of what you do you have done before.”

But we humans seem to like reinventing the wheel. In TV, when a new team make Series 2 (after Series 1 was a hit) the new team would never seek out the old team unless you made them. After all, they know best…..

That does says something about TV people, but I have heard a similar story from a Director of New Business….

So in any selling 90% of the activity is the same. The detail may change but the effort is in the same direction.

So many of our clients are looking at the model they have now and asking if this is the best, most efficient, most successful strategy for winning. Wise move we say. Is it coincidence or a response to the recession? What do you think?


About gristpresent

Presentation, Q&A and Engagement Coach. We help you win more business. Also BAFTA-winning film maker. See our new site www.grist.co.uk


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