I put in a bid for a condominium last week only to have it rejected. It was disappointing because the place matched a lot of my must-haves for a home. Be that as it may, I can always get a useful blog out of the loss. Welcome to my brain.
Bidding on Homes vs. Bidding on Work
Putting a bid down on a home s a bit different from proposal writing in the government or commercial realm. When you’re writing a technical proposal, you or your organization is usually seeking to submit (and the customer is often expecting) the lowest bid. Or, alternatively, if you don’t put in the absolutely lowest bid on a request for proposal (RFP), you at least try to demonstrate “best value” by focusing on what the customer will get for their money.
When a homeowner puts his/her property on the market, the incentives are reversed: they want the highest bid possible. The housing market in Florida is a bit chaotic at the moment. With fewer pandemic-related restrictions on business, people are moving here in (what I’m told are) record numbers. As a result, there’s a lot of demand for housing. And because of this demand, some people are putting their homes on the market with prices that are higher than realistic. These owners end up lowering their price the longer it stays on the market because their asking price is putting off bidders. So while, yes, some prices are getting ridiculously high, other sellers have to drop their price.
In my situation, my realtor sent me some data on recent sales of comparable properties in the area. The measure for comparison she was using was price per square foot of living space (yes, I know the rest of the world operates on the metric system; bear with me). The place I was bidding on was close to the market average or a bit under. I could have bid lower–my realtor said she thought the place was a bit overpriced–and I was tempted to drop my bid just because I was peeved that the owners had removed the clothes washer and dryer when they moved out. In the end, though, my realtor rethought the matter and suggested I go with the seller’s original price rather than risk low-balling my bid.
The result was that someone else won. Why? Because they tried an approach I hadn’t considered because the property was at the upper end of what I was prepared to spend: they overbid.
What Does This Have to Do With Technical Writing?
On business and government proposals, companies can and do ask for proposal debriefs to determine why they weren’t selected. This is useful information that they can then apply to future bids.
In the case of my home hunting situation, I was simply told that the seller received “a more attractive offer,” which translates into them receiving more than their original asking price. Lessons learned:
- In the future I will try for a property with a lower price so I have money in reserve to overbid should I feel so inclined.
- Consider other factors when bidding on the home beyond price per square foot/meter.
On business proposals, of course, there might be more considerations than price that can cause you to lose, such as technical approach, management approach, or past performance. Regardless of the reason for your bid being rejected, you can always learn something that you can apply to the next attempt. Keep on learning!