Huzzah, something good to write about for a change. The chance has finally arisen to meet the buyers. No, it’s not a chance to take along the poison-tipped umbrella in order to surreptitiously jab the people who you know do not favour your solution in the leg and thus render them a drooling fool, but it’s more a chance to get to know who is buying your stuff and to grab an opportunity to put across your genuine unique selling point.
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If by chance one day you look at your sales chart with your hands behind your back teetering on your heels and toes alternatively and you wonder where that spike came from as you notice a sharp upward curve in your sales levels and realise it corresponds with when you happen to have secured a large contract then we could easily blame that sales spike on the large contract, thus eventually you can call this upward curve in you sales figures an ‘income bent’. This type of sales pitch (excuse the pun) is likely to have come from the ousting of an incumbent, something that many resellers believe is a difficult, if not impossible, thing to achieve and yet it happens all the time. Let’s just look at history. The incumbent or sitting contractor or favoured supplier or the big chief’s cousin will eventually become fat lazy and is pretty much prone to slip up. One day they will nose dive so deeply in their own trough of swill that they may never surface again and hence forth the gig is up for grabs. One particular expert in charge of dishing out contracts down Wellington way was said to be offended by a contactor’s inability to take him out for a coffee just to say thanks for the jobs. Sometimes it’s that fickle. And if we go deeper back into history we can see examples of this happening throughout man’s existence. The Romans once had quite a hold the contract to supply roads, peace, tyranny, and homo erotic porn in the form of gladiator battles but they lost that when they discovered there was little else to discover. And of course anyone can look back into the realms of history and see countless examples of empires crushed and broken and power houses fallen by the wayside only to make a path for the new guy. We only have to look at last year’s Arab Spring to confirm this historical inevitability that the mighty will eventually fall flat on their faces. And look how fast the United States of America is becoming a nation containing and extraordinary amount of poor people who live on the streets. The USA is losing its grip on the top place. However, in our small domain down here in the ankle of the world and our very own government contract landscape we can see a few recent examples of the incumbents being ousted. The suppliers of those lovely contracts have surely seen their sales charts display and Income Bent, in the wrong direction no doubt. The Tela scheme is one such example. Telecom Rentals won that one, replacing the incumbent. Dimension Data have managed to oust some incumbents as easily as Luke Skywalker popped off the restraining bolt from R2D2. The Dimension Data crew of tenderers has had a run of success with wins at the IRD, the MoH and the NZ Police. So we can gather hope from the fact that ousting the incumbent is not as hard as may seem. All you need is a really big spoon to get under those limpets and give it one hell of a shove and a flip.
The written word is one of mankind’s most useful tools. It conveys ideas from person to person and place to place much more effectively than word of mouth. Imagine if the instructions to fly a helicopter were passed on verbally. Sooner or later someone’s going to forget which way to pull the cyclic and you’ve backed into the hanger. So we can see that English has its uses and we use it all the time in our proposals to try in a desperate attempt to win over the reader in the most convincing way possible. And if that means making them ill by twisting their brains around like they’ve just taken a hit of Amyl Nitrate then so be it. The more we can confuse our dear readers the more they will think we know what we’re talking about. At least when they don’t know what they are talking about. The worst thing we can do is leave them with the impression that our job is easy and that it can be explained in a few short easy to read sentences that make perfect sense and are understood by all and sundry. Madness. Don’t give the game away. We’re selling a complicated solution filled with intricacies and nuances that the normal man in the street has no idea of. Computer solutions are a nightmare of trip ups and gobbledegook with explanations that can only be deciphered by highly qualified engineers of the finest calibre. If you start using plain English to explain what you can achieve all your customer will do is wonder why the thing they want is so simple yet cost a fortune. Let me try to explain my the above facetiouness by simile. A helicopter has four controls: the throttle to control engine speed, giving the craft life; the collective to alter the pitch angle of the blades to control the amount of thrust; the cyclic to controld the direction of the thrust; and the torque to change the rear tail rotor’s speed and thrust in relation to the main body, changing where the craft points. Sounds confusing. Until you realise we're just talking about moving up, down, right and left. Which bring me to the Ministry of Education’s response to a November 25 column regarding Unified Software and a laptop-for-teacher's programme. Unified was meant to supply software and web portal, but went into voluntary liquidation.