The Bid Presentation Interview-Why It’s Yours To Lose

Posted on Sep 01

How would you feel about losing a £26 million contract that you know you should have won?

Or when you don’t win a £7 million one even though you know that you are by far the best company for the job?

Sounds like a nightmare….

but these are just two instances  I have come across in the last few weeks where companies have lost multi-million pound contracts,  not because their  project or service wasn’t good, but because of  a poor presentation.

Recently I  had the opportunity to speak to several people involved in the procurement side in several industry sectors to find out more about exactly what it is that loses companies business in this way.

Here’s what they had to say …..

” There seems to be a misconception that by the time we get to the interview that we have already made up our minds. But it simply isn’t true. There may be the odd occasion where there’s an out and out front runner but that’s rarer than you think and it’s no guarantee that they’ll win anyway. I’ve seen firms who rank the highest on the written submission who absolutely blow it on the presentation.”

” Many bidders think that the ultimate decider is price. It is obviously very important and a major consideration but it’s just as important to have confidence in their ability to do a good job and knowing that we can trust and work with them is more often than not the deciding factor for us.”

” When you get to the interview stage then it’s your opportunity to impress but so many firms don’t bother to do anything other than copy and paste PowerPoint slides from a previous submission. I’m sick and tired of seeing presentations that don’t amount to more than dozens of corporate slides that actually don’t tell me anything that I don’t already know. I want to find out if we can work with these people, not the details of all of the projects they’ve already completed!”

” I would say that the overall standard of most of the interview presentations that I see is poor.  To be honest sometimes it’s almost an insult and they can actually put you off working with a company, because if they can’t be bothered to make an effort with their presentation when so much is at stake, then what else can’t they be bothered about?  Maybe they’ll be a problem to work with or be unreliable. It’s all about the impression they make.”

” No matter how good the written submission is, if it seems that they don’t really understand us or we feel that we can’t work with them, then they won’t win. We really want to meet the people who will be working on the project and the interview is a great opportunity to do this but many companies don’t engage with the panel and just rely on the PowerPoint slides to do the job for them. If I had my way I’d ban PowerPoint.”

” Having seen so many presentations over the years there are very few that are memorable. Most have been average at best. I can’t really understand why more companies don’t invest in training their staff to give better presentations, especially when they are going for a large value contract. The ones that do really stand out. It’s not about being slick and using an “all bells and whistles” PowerPoint. It’s about being professional and showing what you do that is different from everyone else”.

I found it really interesting to discover the perceptions of the people on the other side of the table and hope that this may provide some insights for you too.

Now I know that are  instances when people have won considerable contracts having delivered a poor presentation but why take that chance?

Instead why not learn how to give an outstanding presentation every time and give yourself the very best chance of winning?

Until next time,

with best wishes for your success,

Cath :)

Cath Daley

I work with people who are involved in competitive pitching for business and have to do presentations to an interview or procurement panel, often for substantial contracts which can make a big difference to the company concerned when they win.(You can see some of the results at

If you are interested in developing the presentation skills of your staff so that you really stand out in the marketplace and give a winning business presentation every time then  check out our Presenting To Win programmes

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Posted on Sep 01 in Business Pitching, Business Presentations, Communication skills, Presentation Skills

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