The Six Things That Make a Cultural Diversity Professional Competitive

Being a Good at Your Profession is Not Enough

If you are an experienced cultural diversity professional, you are likely an excellent trainer and consultant. Marketing yourself and securing customers are not likely your skill sets if you are like most of us. Marketing your cultural diversity services takes time, money, and skill. But, that is not enough. It is much easier to advertise your services than to land opportunities.

cultural diversity professional

How do top performing cultural diversity professionals secure contracting opportunities? Certainly, a good reputation helps, but there are a lot of reputable organizations struggling to keep pace. Submitting competitive bids to secure opportunities can skyrocket your business, but the competition is brutal especially for lucrative contracts. The work needed to compete, and secure the bid can break the spirit of even the most self-assured cultural diversity professional.

A recent case in point demonstrates the competitive bid challenges cultural diversity professionals face. A government agency needed cultural diversity training and consulting services to fulfill a mandate. The human resource department met with established cultural diversity contractors individually. Each of the potential contractors was then asked to submit a quote (RFQ) for the services based on what they learned about the agency’s needs. The agency used the information in the RFQ submissions to develop a request for proposals (RFP) that was published to make the bid even more competitive.

cultural diversity professionals

The RFP resulted in a considerable number of submissions. While the companies that submitted the RFQ may have had a leg up, nothing could be taken for granted once the solicitation was on the open market. Winning the bid required rising above the competition in the final round.

You can put a lot of time and effort into each proposal. There is no guarantee your proposal will be accepted. Only one company received the full bid in the end. How did that company secure the contract? The good news is that there is a formula for rising above the competition, which is crucial for your toolkit.

The Key Things Cultural Diversity Professional Winners Do

cultural diversity professionals

Here are the six things you need to keep in mind to succeed:

  1. The Playing Field is Not Level.

The competition is stiff, especially for the larger bids. Sometimes you will compete with professionals in your area or region. The client prefers to select a local business, but that may not be possible when the service requires specialization. The person or company with the best reputation for unconscious bias training, for example, may beat out local competitors.

Requesting proposals gives the appearance of a level playing field, but that is seldom the case.It is often the proposal that makes or breaks the deal. Those who have written many unsuccessful proposals can tell you that not all submissions are the same. The quality of the proposal matters more than factors like competitive pricing, professional credentials, and locality. How well the proposal sells your product, service and your expertise determines the outcome.

  1. You Must Have a Competitive Spirit.

You likely have a good track record as an excellent trainer, consultant or both. You also need to be great at marketing yourself - even if you have the funds to hire a marketing consultant. Consider a cultural diversity consultant that is relatively new to the field. She skyrocketed her presence in the business in a short period. A Ted Talk, a book, and marketing plan that has her name mentioned throughout the cultural diversity space catapulted her into the limelight. A colleague and I agreed that neither her book or message was extraordinary. Yet, she secures one speaking engagements after another. Her ability to market and package herself is what makes her special. You have to package your expertise in each proposal to make it a winner.

  1. A Good Track Record is Indispensable.

Your ability to compete is only as good as the last customer you served. The best way to rise above the competition is to have your customers raving about you. When your name is the first to come to mind in discussions about cultural diversity consultants and trainers, your telephone will ring a lot. Including client testimonials in your proposals will catch the attention of even a decision maker who may have initially preferred another vendor. One of the best ways to make your proposal stand out is to have credible client reviews, such as Dunn & Bradstreet Open Rating data. Putting a copy in the appendix will make your organization stand out. Few share evaluation data - if they have any.

  1. Credentials Make a Difference.

Diversity certification is increasingly important to stand out in the profession. Job listings for cultural diversity professionals are beginning to include certification credentials as a required or recommended qualification. Few diversity professionals have credentials, and most have not been formally trained. Credentials will give you the upper hand, especially when you have a track record. Read the article Selecting a Diversity Professional Certification Program for a review.

  1. Give Each Proposal Your Very Best Effort to Secure the Opportunity.

Treat each opportunity to submit a proposal for a cultural diversity competitive bid as a gift. These opportunities do not come available that often. When they are published, you need to be prepared and committed to giving the proposal your very best effort. Give each your all big and small. You will not secure every contract you go after. But, each one you secure makes you more competitive for the next one. You are not in the game unless you give each one your best effort. Besides, if you are going to put the time and effort into submitting a proposal, it is a waste of effort to not go all out.

  1. Blogging

The rise of social media, email communication, and web-based search engines makes it imperative that serious cultural diversity professionals publish a blog on a regular basis. Writing and publishing give you credibility and drive traffic to the solutions you offer. It’s an important branding tool. There is a catch to attracting readers. People read blogs primarily for information or entertainment—not for advertisements. This means that you need to write blogs that inform people. Share ideas and tips with your audience that benefit them. Avoid obvious self-promotion. When you demonstrate that there is an audience following you and that reading your blog is rewarding, you are viewed as an expert.

cultural diversity professional

The Outstanding Proposal Rises to the Top

Rising above the competition as a cultural diversity professional requires knowing how to market yourself. That is a crucial part of writing winning proposals. It is much easier to come up with a marketing plan than securing customers. Learning how to write proposals that stand out is a matter of hard work, a unique angle, blogging interesting information, and closing the deal when you are positioned to win.

About the Author: Billy Vaughn, Ph.D. CDP CDT CDE is director of the Diversity Executive Leadership Academy and an award winning cultural diversity expert. His bio can be found at https://dtui.com/about-dtui-com/billy-e-vaughn-biography/.

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