Words and Pictures for Business|From A to Q, and Sometimes Y.

Puppy Dog Eyes or “It’s not you, it’s them”!


Say hello to Michiko!

Yes, this would seem to be a gratuitous picture of our newest family member. She’s about twelve weeks old here, and is as sweet as can be. Look at those puppy dog eyes! But, I bring her here to illustrate a point.

When you’re a three pound terrier living with two teenaged girls, a busy business owner and two cats who outweigh you by verrrrrry generous amounts, those puppy dog eyes are everything. Her whole existence right now depends on, “Look at her, isn’t she cute? Don’t you just love her?!”

However, when you are a business submitting an RFP/RFI/RFQ response to a school district, state or local government agency, or a non-profit looking for funding, puppy dog eyes don’t get you anywhere. And that’s my point. When you are selling your services, it’s not about you and how amazing you are. It’s about how you are set up to serve your customer best, and if you dare, better than the competition.

This can be a hard thing to remember – especially when all the requirements ask about you – and it’s a common mistake. For example,  the RFQ you’re working on states:

11.2.7 Describe how your company communicates with translators.

Here’s the puppy dog answer (Aren’t I cute? Don’t you just love me?!)

11.2.7 Describe how your company communicates with translators.

Translation Agency X communicates with our large staff of translators using Y program, which we have invested Z dollars because we are committed to staying at the forefront of technology.

The answer above is perfectly good, for what it is. It’s concise, and it answers the question. But it won’t win you the bid, because it isn’t focused on the customer’s needs. It’s important to always consider what’s behind the question the agency is asking. Imagine the real question they are asking is:

11.2.7 The last translation company we worked with used unsecured email for our highly sensitive materials and was completely disorganized when communicating with their translators, which resulted in missed deadlines and was a total disaster for us. Describe how your company communicates with translators.

Here’s a better answer.

We understand that communication between our agency and our large staff of translators is critical to on-time delivery of your project. Because we are committed to proactive communication that eliminates delay of the final product to you, we have invested in Y program and associated training for our staff. Y program offers a secure channel for transmitting protected health information (PHI), and is part of our integrated translation management solution, which includes modules for A, B, C and D.

Laurie Mandell
+1 971.202.6190

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