Grow the Hidden Value of Invitations to Bid


Click for bid opportunities
By Kaiya Barrett

Are the responses to your latest invitation to bid or ITB not generating the buzz you expected? It may be time to take a step back and work on actively expanding your network.
Take a good look at your ITBs. They hold gifts you may have never considered before. The value of an ITB is based on action and being proactive in your outreach to contacts. An expanded network gives you more trusted, skilled options to deliver true customer value and expectations. Once you’ve nailed down your network, you can better evaluate profitability based on the needs of each project and your ability to deliver quality results.
American Bridge 5.
So, where do you start? Turn on the inner extrovert and start relationship building.
Contractor networkIf You’re a General Contractor
Looking at ITBs as a networking tool begins with two buckets of contacts: your current network and people you do not know. When you’re working with a bid management tool, you’ll have a built-in network of fresh and new connections. With access to new contacts that will see your projects, you can be proactive in your follow up with them.
Here are some steps for successful interactions.
Make follow-up calls part of your process. A good best practice after sending your ITB is to follow up with a phone call. The conversation isn’t over if you find out this contact can’t make this specific bid. If they’re already booked for that time, you can ask when they will be free. Or you can invite them to participate in another project at a different time.
Take note of the conversation. Never treat the follow-up contact as a one-off conversation. It is helpful to think of this person as a potential partner, so make sure you’re making notes during the conversation. Maybe you can hear their dog barking in the background, or you just happened to call them on their birthday. These are talking points that will make future outreach much easier. Having a bid management tool, where you are able to take notes and build actions from your conversations allows you to be more personal in future outreach.
If You’re a Subcontractor

When you receive an invitation to a party, do you respond or not? If you can’t attend, at the very least, you should let the host know you appreciate the invite, and that you’ll try to meet up soon. Just like a party invitation, the inviting general contractor is expecting a response. If you don’t respond, you might miss your chance to work on the next best project this general contractor has available.
Take the opportunity to connect about a future project. If you receive an ITB, you should evaluate it as usual to decide if it’s a yes or a no. If it’s a project that you know you’re not going to bid on, there are still networking opportunities there. Give the general contractor a call, tell them why you cannot take this job, and follow up with questions: “What else do you have in your pipeline that I could work on? Do you have jobs in your pipeline that we can collaborate on?"
If You’re a Service Provider
It’s not just about the ITBs. Using a project lead service, there is an opportunity to go look at projects and raise your hand to spark conversations and interest in what you can bring to the table.
Line up your next opportunity on your current job site. While on site, you can talk to the other trade contractors or the general contractor because they’re not competing with you for work and ask what their next job is. This is particularly important if you’re a service provider, since often you are left out of the bidding process or thought of at the last minute.
Final Thoughts
To get actual value out of ITBs, you must be willing to put yourself out there and make personal connections. Never think of networking as extra work, but as part of the process to bring in quality, profitable jobs for your business.

Kaiya Barrett is the content marketing manager for ConstructConnect. She has a career in communications that spans more than fifteen years and includes experience in broadcasting, content writing, digital marketing, and public relations.

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