Are you selling dead fish?

This may seem an unusual way to start an article about tendering, but bear with me.  It’s about the power of words and how they can conjure images in the reader’s mind.

One scribe I know talks about a business’s products and service as “customer value packages”.  Now that’s a bit of a ponderous mouthful but it does send a message.

Imagine if you were tendering for a catering contract and one of the requirements to be met was a description of the meals to be provided.  A purely factual response might say:

‘Dead Fish, gutted, beheaded, sliced, cooked and served on a plate next to a pile of processed potatoes and a scoop of mixed vegetables.’  

Now that may exactly describe the offering but it certainly won’t conjure an image of a mouth-watering meal in the customer’s mind.  And what are the chances of it selling?  Instead, you’ll find the following type of description:

'Freshly caught barramundi fillet, sautéed in real butter and sprinkled with a dash of garden fresh dill with roasted almond slices. Served with a piping hot baked potato and a generous side of steamed tender fresh garden vegetables.’  

Now that is much more likely to create an appetising image in your customer’s mind’s eye and lead to a contract.

So what is the message you give potential clients in your bids and tenders?  Is your ‘customer value package” dressed as a dead fish, a purely factual description of the features of your product or service?  Or is your message about the benefits those features provide, the emotions they create or the problems it solves?  

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