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Small Details Make a Big Impact

My name is Ryanne. Pronounced “Ryan” but often said “Ry-ANNE” or on the rare occasion, “Re-ANNE.” When I meet someone for the first time, they typically pronounce my name like either of the latter, and with a mild correction, they usually remember for the future. It doesn’t matter what position you are in or what field you work; it’s simple – the little details matter! Take it from someone whose name that is pronounced wrong about 80% of the time, those itty bitty details – they’re kind of important.

I recently discussed with a colleague who is currently in a position of hiring someone. She mentioned that she received a resume and the corresponding questionnaire that not only had one typo but a handful on the resume as well as the applicant’s questionnaire. She didn’t call the said applicant to schedule an interview. A typo is something that at the time seems like a small thing; it’s not. Some people may overlook it as a common mistake. Others, may qualify it as defining quality, and it could lead them to draw the wrong conclusions about not only you but your company.

I am an office manager. Some days rely on focusing on those tiny, little details. Whether I am planning for an event, booking travel for one of my coworkers or reviewing a proposal; it is essential I pay attention to not only the significant details but the minuscule ones that if you look at it too quickly, you will miss it. If I overhear one of my coworkers talk about how he hates flying, am I going to book him a middle seat on his upcoming flight? Of course not! If I need 250 copies of one of our informational flyers for an upcoming event, there is a big difference between, 25, 250 and 2500. Whether you’re reading, writing or listening being conscientious of every single thing, no matter the level of importance, will differentiate you from the rest!

You must pay attention to the details! If you’re writing a proposal, double check you have all the components you need! Sending out sales emails? Make sure you’re addressing the person correctly! Those small details are what differentiate your work from being average to exceptional. You must pay attention! Your boss, a business partner or a client of yours will notice when you focus on the little details as much as the big ones.

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Getting Personal | Meeting In-Person vs. Virtual Conferencing

meeting in person
I was sitting at dinner with my wife and daughter and as I looked around the restaurant I noticed something. Almost everyone in the restaurant was more engaged with their phone than the person sitting next to or in front of them.

In today’s technology-driven lifestyle, it’s become easy do everything remotely. I can see my nieces in Omaha via FaceTime, attend a conference via GoToMeeting and even present information to a client via a web conference. The simplicity of it is great but it lacks something.

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to a city in the South and meet with some existing clients and some potential new clients. With a business partner we had scheduled five meetings in a period of two days. Over the course of those two days we spent an hour or two with each client. These were in-person, no media, “let’s sit down and have a conversation” discussions.

This was personal.

You could see the expressions on the face of the person sitting across from you. You could see and hear nuances in the conversation. This was plain and simple a personal interaction and you know what, at the end of each conversation, every client echoed the same thing. They want to develop a personal relationship. They want to know you so that they can pick up the phone and call you with honest feedback, whether it be good or bad.

So what came of those meetings?

We were able to develop our business relationship with these clients into a more personal relationship. So what does that mean? Well, in the coming weeks or months, we will be meeting with each of these clients and further expand our relationship. We may do some business or simply develop some relationships. Either way, at the end of the day, this personal approach will have a great impact on our business going forward.

So guess what, Beth, Brandon and Kevin… I hope you don’t mind doing a little traveling.

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Success Means Knowing When to Fold

Texas Hold ’em is a game of skill.  Over the years, successful players like David Sklansky, have developed complex algorithms to guide their decision making when a particular hand is dealt.  This mathematical approach helps improve their win probability – but it’s not the total answer.  What does the raise from the player past the big blind position mean?  Why did the person across from me scratch her head before bumping the bet again?  What do I do now?

Winning players understand that “bankroll management” is every bit as important as being able to remember the cards that have been dealt.  No player enters a game with unlimited funds, and once the once you have are gone, it’s “game over”.  Successful players understand that folding a hand is not a sign of weakness; it merely reflects your understanding that your hand is not as strong as your opponent’s. There is no stigma attached to folding if this act lets you conserve your money for a better future hand.

It’s the same in our world – or at least it should be.  Bid and proposal funds are never unlimited, and misuse of these scarce resources offer a quick path to the unemployment line.  But capture managers HATE walking away from deals.  They believe this will be seen as a sign of weakness – and this unhelpful approach is reinforced by way too many corporate executives who don’t understand the difference between a full pipeline, and a productive pipeline.

We have two clients that compete in the same general market.  One is extremely satisfied with its 35% win rate; the other is horrified that it only wins 90% of the time.  The first company approach to bid submittal is “if his has a pulse, bid it!”.  Their capture process is undisciplined; gate reviews are opportunities to display pretty PowerPoint slides to an audience that always says “Yes!”. The second has a more organized, more disciplined approach.  The criteria for passing a gate review are clearly defined, and lack of preparedness – lack of needed information for effective decision making – guarantees that a pursuit will be ended on the spot.  Guess which organization spends less B&P dollars overall?  Guess which organization is always looking for “successful” capture managers?

Conserve your resources.  Effective Price To Win helps you identify opportunities that meet your business objectives that you truly can win.  As for the rest? Well, poker legend Stu Unger puts it this way: “Fold and live to fold again.”

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The Price/Capability Tradeoff

Fact: every capability you offer has an associated cost, and generally the more you offer, the more it costs.  So understanding what the customer needs – and what the customer wants – is crucial to defining a winning solution.

In our world, an RFP defines the customer’s minimum set of requirements.  These requirements are explicit – they’re in black and white, and known to all bidders.  There’s a general term for a bidder that offers a solution that does not meet these minimal requirements: loser.

On the other hand, customers typically hope for – most of us would say “demand” – solutions that go beyond these minimums. These implicit requirements will never appear in an RFP; if you think of an iceberg, these are the below-the-waterline chunks of ice.  If you know where they are, you’re safe – but if not, they will sink your bid every time. And if you go too far past, well, there be dragons.

A similar situation exists with funding.  Every market, every opportunity has a maximum budget – but don’t think that this represents the highest price you can bid.  Every budget includes deductions – for program management or reserve, for example – which reduce the amount of money that’s actually available to bidders – resulting in what we call the “addressable budget”.  Beneath this number is a floor value that represents the lowest price the customer would consider reasonable. Above the maximum, below the minimum – more dragons.  It should be an obvious point, bit we see people missing it all the time: winning solutions must reflect understanding of the customer’s sources and uses of funding.

Some call the space in the middle the competitive range, but I’m a bit less subtle. I call it the Win Zone, because if you can’t get your solution in it, you can’t win.  This is the ballpark that you have to find for every opportunity – and Price To Win gets you there.

Texas Hold ’em is Price To Win in action.  You enter the game with strategies based on your understanding of how your opponents have played in the past.  As the game progresses, you watch for tells that show how their historical behavior may be different.  You calculate the odds of winning based on probability – and on every hand, you decide to play or fold.

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Richter & Company and The McKelvey Group Create Pricing Partnership

Frederick, MD – August 24, 2016 – Richter & Company and The McKelvey Group (TMG) today announced a strategic partnership focused on improving client win rates in today’s uber-competitive government contracting environment. Under this alliance:

• Richter & Company will offer externally-focused Competitive Analysis and Price To Win services to help clients identify an opportunity’s unique price to win position – the combination of solution and price needed to achieve a win over other competitors.
• TMG will offer internally-focused pricing strategy services to help clients develop and price the winning solutions that achieve the Price To Win position and enable successful execution after contract award.

Together, these services provide actionable information – news both companies’ clients can effectively use to win – while assuring that client information is protected.

Said Randy Richter, President of Richter & Company, “Some competitive analysis companies also do work that exposes them to their own client’s data – for example, using the same team to identify price to win targets and develop detailed costing/pricing solutions to meet them. We never cross that line. We do no work that exposes our analysts to our clients’ cost and price data or strategies. If clients ask for that type of help, we refer that business to partners whose work and ethics we trust.”

“The McKelvey Group is our go-to recommendation for government pricing support”, continued Richter. “They are the pros at helping clients price aggressively yet appropriately, to help win the contract and ensure successful execution after contract award. Their excellent team offers outstanding skills and in-depth industry experience, and we look forward to offering their capabilities to our clients.”

“Our team has known and worked with Richter & Company for many years.” said Matt McKelvey, President of TMG. “When it comes to Price To Win and Competitive Intelligence in today’s hyper-competitive market, they are the experts. We will continue to highly recommend them to our clients”.

Service descriptions and pricing are available from either company.


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Richter & Company Continues Race To Top through Acquisition of Aerospace Analytics LLC

Frederick, MD – August 10, 2016 – Richter & Company LLC, a leading provider of Competitive Intelligence and Price To Win support services, announced today that it has acquired the assets of market research firm Aerospace Analytics LLC.

The acquisition adds three new services to Richter & Company’s existing portfolio:

• Strategic Market Analysis and Consulting
• Development of Syndicated U.S. and International Market Analysis Reports
• Corporate-level Go-to-Market Planning and Team Development

Initial offerings will focus on the worldwide defense aerospace market, reflecting the 20+ years of experience of Aerospace Analytics’ founder, Katrina Jones.

“Over the years, we’ve worked with many price to win consultants. Richter & Company’s work is head and shoulders above the pack, and we’re excited to become part of their team,” said Ms. Jones. “Adding our market-focused services to Richter’s proven opportunity-focused support will help all of our clients make better decisions about the business they pursue.”

Said Randy Richter, President of Richter & Company, “Winning – and performing – in today’s hyper-competitive world requires detailed knowledge of how competitors develop, cost, and price their solutions. We look forward to working with the Aerospace team to add even more value to our clients.”