How to get the best offer out there?

market analysis

The question seems pretty simple and straight forward. The answer bears another question in itself: do I know what the best offer is?

Once I had a call from a colleague in Chile. She just had a reverse auction event using online bidding. The event was for fuel transport. In Chile there are very long distances due to the geography of the country. It is a long strip of coast that extends in its majority along the eastern coast of South America. There you can have trucks hauling fuel for distances of more than 900 miles. She called me because in the event she had several road transport vendors invited and none of them presented an offer. She was baffled. How could this happen? In previous conversations with the vendors they all seemed to be very interested.

She called me to see if I can help her decipher the motives of the haulers for them not to bid. My first question to her was: do you know what your best offer is? She replied: The lowest offer I can get. OK but what is that number? She answer: I don´t know. See that´s the problem right there. You need to know the market first. You need to understand all about the offerings in order to go out and get the best offer.

Many times we hit the market with very little knowledge of what´s out there. The best offers are the ones that come from the best understanding of the market.  Once you get that collected knowledge, you can determine what´s your target. Once you know your target only then you can go to market.

Also when you know your market, you can understand what the strategy to approach the market. In the Chile road transport my colleague had very little knowledge. She did not know that government wore down haulers with very extreme reverse auctions and they had very bad experiences up to the point of not participating in anymore. Also if bids would of being placed she had no idea if they were high for the market or too low to be sustainable or even doable.

Only an in depth study of your market offering will lead to successful “Best Offer”. Next time you go purchasing goods or hiring services ask yourself if you have sufficient knowledge of the market.


  1. Completely agree. It’s really important to have an understanding of the marketplace before negotiating, otherwise it is a case of the tail wagging the dog. Within the context of the reverse auction, this involves running an RFP/RFQ process before so you get an understanding of which vendors are eager to bid, what price levels they can offer, how many vendors you might have (competition) and any other important factors. You can then use that information to a) understand what price level the market is comfortable with and b) what strategy to take to negotiate that market price.

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