Survival guide | You lost. Now what?

We ask two industry veterans what companies should try to learn at the debriefing after losing a contract bid

E-mail Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman at with
your suggestion.

Our experts are Steve Carrier, former
vice president of business development
and strategic
planning at Northrop
Grumman Information
Technology, and Bob
Lohfeld, president of
Lohfeld Consulting
Group and former vice
president at Lockheed Martin
Information Technology and senior
vice president of OAO Corp.

CARRIER: Find out as much about
the pricing information as they will
give you. It is very important to know
where you were compared to the winner
on price.

Next, how did your
technical solution stack up
against the competitors?
Finally, what are the
three or four things that
caused you to not be
selected? Get as many specifics as

Also, after the protest period is over
? and you are not protesting ? go
back to the customer and potential
members of the source selection
board and try to find out the real reason
you lost. After the protest period
has passed, they are more likely to
talk honestly to you.

Above all else, don't argue with the
customer. The outcome was his opinion,
and that's what counts.

LOHFELD: As you prepare for the
debriefing, decide the right people to
take to the meeting.

The government's debriefing team knows what they can and cannot
tell you. For you to get the most of
the debriefing, know what you
should say and how your team
should conduct itself during the

Determine what three objectives
you want to accomplish during the
debriefing and make sure you
accomplish them.

If the government determined
that your offer failed to make the
competitive range, would you handle
the debriefing differently?

Think about what to do after the
debriefing to make sure your team
learns from it.

That way, you can avoid making
the same mistakes on the next proposal
you prepare.

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