“Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.”
― Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu is the author of the book “The art of war”. He was a Chinese military strategist, Taoist philosopher, and general in the 6th century BC. Today, his teachings are widely used in business and guide managers in their thinking in competition strategies.
I particularly like the quote which I chose as the title for this blog: “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought”. It is very much the truth in contract renewal which is a battle between competitors and substitute solutions for your clients’ favor.
Before the end of the contract your client will already have made a lot of decisions. Like whether they are open for a new partner or not, whether they would like to explore other options or not, whether to request for proposals or directly award the contract to a vendor and whether to focus on price or on value.
In this light, the weaker strategy is to await the request for proposal and compete for the contract. The battle is not where your focus should be. The better strategy is to win the battle way before that.
The only way to do this, is with a plan; a contract renewal plan. This is where the contract renewal canvas comes in. To honor the wisdom of Sun Tzu, you should start timely with contract renewal and create a plan to influence your clients’ preferences on what to do next.
Another of Sun Tzu’s advises comes into play here: “Know the other and know yourself, and you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”.
Although Sun Tzu here meant the enemy by the “other”. I would like to translate it into “the client”. Of course, you are not in a battle with your client, but it will be your client who will be making the decisions. When you know exactly your clients’ interests, how they see them best served and how they see you(r solution) in this perspective, you can think of a plan to change their minds. Or change your proposition.
Win the battle before it is ever fought. This notion is very valuable. But it will only be put into practice when the level of organization of a company facilitates the notion. So, like Sun Tzu, organize to win battles before they are fought.
Get strategic about contract renewal, ask us about the Contract Renewal Canvas