Bid Magic

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Youre a salesman. You live or die on the bid that you write. Its your future, and its all in the bid.

I have written lots of bidsserious bids against serious competition. Aspen, where I owned a CI firm for 13 years, has a few thousand residents. I have heard it said on any given day that about 30 A/V companies were in this little town competing for these top clients.

Many of my prospects were only in town for a short time and scheduled to meet back to back with architects, builders, decorators, A/V contractors and many more. I learned to respect the fact that building a new home at this level involves hundreds of meetings and decisions by the owners.
During my presentations to these busy clients, it was clear to me what was needed. My bids had to be to very clear, succinct and easy to understand. I had their attention for just a short time and I needed a no-nonsense bid.

Some of the bids I saw from other contractors were really complicated. I saw bids that literally disclosed the quantity of every rack screw needed, the number of RG6 coax crimp connectors and the exact part number and footage of each type of wire. Every wallplate was called out, including part numbers for DSS diplexers. Those bids were so long they even made my head spin.

Then there were bids created by elite A/V companies who could afford four guys working full time in the office doing nothing but CAD drawings all day long. They also employed several full-time specialists who worked on just one thingcreating bids. It takes a certain mindset to present a half-million dollar A/V bid and not even bother to disclose the line item prices. They were selling the elite experience of working with them more than the actual A/V system.

In my case, I didnt want to burden my clients with a 20-page book of specs and rackshelf part numbers. I didnt even present cabinet drawings, wiring diagrams or any CAD drawings in my bids. Drawings could come later.

I presented a bid style that would show them the bullet points. They were presented with just what they really needed to know, including all of the prices.

As I made my way across the CEDIA EXPO floor over the years, I would stop at A/V proposal software company booths, searching for a program that would work for me. Although computer programs are powerful, the startup time spent implementing new bid software can be very formidable.
I could tell right away that some of the full-featured programs were way too expensive for me. They took months to set up, charged thousands of dollars for training, and I couldnt hire someone else just to learn how to work the software. They had all the bells and whistles, all the drawings all the modules, but would I ever get a bid done? I didnt need links to accounting, charts, task lists, work orders, etc.

Eventually I teamed up with a software company that writes custom programs for major city governments using hundreds of terminals. Together we created and refined a new program based on Microsoft Access, called Bid Magic. It only does one thing; it writes great bids, quickly and easily. It has been a big success helping our salesmen focus just on selling.

I recently spoke with my former top salesman who told me about the expensive software that his new company bought. He said that after six months of trying to get it up and running, he just gave up. He could not get any bids done. So his company hired a certified programmer, fully trained on just that software. After getting everything set up, the expert said he could have his bid done in eight days. Eric told the new programmer that he couldnt wait, went back to his PC and punched out the bid on Bid Magic in five hours. He sold that job, too...a big one.

I appear in Residential Systems every month to help my friends and peers succeed in this industry, and I believe that this software could really help many of you close more sales. To learn more about Bid Magic, please e-mail me at richriehl@msn.com.

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