The pendulum for researching tender awards swings from one extreme to the other. The only constant are the benefits. When researching tenders awards, you never know what you are going to get. It could be so simple and painless that you’re unsure if you’ve actually just worked on, confirmed and published a tender award. It could also be so teeth-gnashingly frustrating, that you would think you’d been charged with finding the Holy Grail. The cast of characters are vast and numerous, but tend to favour certain categories:
Quick and Painless: This category is populated by those that publish award information in the media (you would think that this is a given. But it’s not); who answer phones and are willing to answer questions; those who answer emails (regardless of the email content. Answer emails. That’s it). Basically, if you are willing to engage in a conversation and confirm or supply me with award information, this is your category. I thank you. My Department thanks you. Our subscribers thank you. Transparency in the tender process hard at work.
Not Quick and Definitely Not Painless: This category contains everyone else.
Every unanswered email, ever.
The “instant-hangup”. You know the one. You call, it rings, it’s picked up and then “Click”. A sub-category that involves me phoning back and remaining on hold indefinitely. This results in partial deafness in my right ear from listening to either a tinny Greenleaves on an endless loop or a wind instrument butchering of a ’80’s One Hit Wonder. I will turn that ringing phone into an instrument of torture until that Government employee crawls out from under their desk and answers the phone. Generally, this results in them realising that if they give me what I want; I will go away. Until next time. But let’s not burst their bubble.
The “Wrong Department”. I tend to end up at HR. Regardless of how I worded my request. When I’ve done the full circuit of synonyms for “tender” and am now on a first name basis with the woman in HR; I know it’s going to be a long day.
There’s the blatant “No”. I can respect these guys because at least they’re not wasting my time or theirs. But I do think “Dodgy” when this happens. Which I will concede is unfair. The construction industry is very competitive, and as we all know, information is very valuable. Not everyone likes their “business” to be spread all over the place. Of course not, why would any company in this day and age want other people (with money), to know about their services and how some people (also with money) trust them with it to do a job? Scandalous. Yes, I know. You main contractors and some consultants out there don’t want to be inundated with calls. I get it. I know. I sympathise. But I’m still going to call anyway. A sub-category of this group are the “No Internet presence” people. They don’t exist. At least not digitally anyways. They can not be found. It baffles me, how they do business at all?
The “Who are you and why do you want to know?” category can go either way. This category either just wants to be informed (I can admire this) or they are suspicious of us. I’m perfectly happy to explain myself and what L2B does, just short of submitting a DNA sample. This category is an opportunity as they either subscribe to us or give us the opportunity to explain that publishing their awarded company details on the L2B website, is the grownup version of “Na-na-nana-na!”.
The “Uber-suspicious” group is like trying to have a conversation with Gollum, protecting his Precious (insert bad Gollum impression here).
“Sir, I don’t want to take it from you. I just want to talk to you about it”
“Um… okay. You have a good day, sir”. I don’t really blame this guy. Tender awards sometimes happen when they are needed the most, and sometimes when they won’t help a damn.
Tender Awards are not boring, that’s for sure. And very emotional. Anything from surprise, joy and excitement to doubt, jealously and anger. And that’s just the researchers.
Construction isn’t my business; information is, so those of you out there:
Subbies, reach out and touch someone. In the non-lawsuit kind of way. And no one likes a Spammer. This isn’t about shot-gunning a kitchen and hoping a cake will fall out. Be selective. Be smart. Approach those that you know will use your product or service. Approach those that will know what you are talking about. Create relationships. Even if the answer is “No!” that’s still a conversation.
Contractors, do not ignore the subbies. New products, skills and services are being created every day. The construction industry, although very traditional and conservative, is also incredibly innovative. Broaden your supplier lists and don’t get held hostage by suppliers/ subbies who are unwilling or unable to adapt to the times. Give the new guys a chance to impress you. Those that can’t deliver won’t last long anyway. You were once new too. Help a brother/ sister out. Plus, a little healthy competition never hurt anyone
If you’ve been awarded a tender and you’re proud of this fact, and want to metaphorically thumb your nose at your competitors, please email Tenders@L2B.co.za with the details.
Your company is doing well, broadcast it.
Free advertising, people.
That stuff’s expensive.