Please Quit Using the Word ‘Bid’

Bid. I hear this word all the time. You know, as in “we are bidding on this.” “Our bid looks good.” “They are letting us bid on this.” Yes, I know what the word means, as it is defined in the dictionary. I am not saying you are grammatically incorrect in using it. However, every time I hear it, I cringe.

For me, the word bid conjures up images of eBay, which is an online auction. You can place your “bid” on eBay, right? Low price wins. That is great. However, it does not work for a custom manufacturing business. I tell my clients that they should never be “bidding” on print and related services. As I have mentioned in recent weeks, you bring so much more (or should) value to the table beyond your bid.

Our word choice plays a large role in how others define us and also in how we define ourselves. In my opinion, you are short changing yourself by saying you will bid on something. There is another way to accomplish the same thing without compromising value. Thus, try inserting the words or phrases like this. “We will quote on this.” “We will run some numbers on this.” “We will look at this to put together some pricing options for you.” “We will take a look at this project and see if we can make this a fit.”

Again, it is all about Perception and Reality, which would make for a great blog name. If the buyer sees no more value from you beyond price, then I hope you can sell it low. Low as you can go. In contrast, if the buyer views you a solutions oriented partner, they will fight for you, give you feedback and likely pay more for what you offer. Why? The way you present your brand and differentiate yourself.

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at
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  • Bob Webb

    Ryan you are spot on!

  • Brad Wolff

    Spot on, dude, spot on! I only hope more sales reps read this and digest it!

  • Marc Aguilera

    I completely agree, however what word would you substitute for “Bid”, certainly not “quote” or “estimate” which are somewhat synonymous.

  • Jack Rice

    Well said. Thank you.