A German construction company, Hoch Engineering Co, wanted to grow its market in Africa. Having gained considerable ground in the Kenyan and South African markets, they decided to bid for a building contract for a public service agency in Nigeria. The project could potentially pull in a chain of other construction projects in the country, and the company was very keen on winning it. They had their best hands put together the proposal. The proposal highlighted, in great detail, the entire project approach, the quality and durability the company would be providing and their success stories on similar projects in other countries. Two months after sending their proposal, they did not hear back from the agency. The company persisted for several months to get updates on their bid, but they never heard back from the agency.
About four months after the submission, the South African partner invited Hoch Engineering’s owner and CEO, Antón, to give a keynote speech at a business launch event in Nigeria. Coincidentally, the head of the government agency, Mr Hassan, was also attending the event. Antón immediately planned to meet with the head of the agency about their bid. He was introduced to the head of the agency by the event host (Hassan’s friend), and he got a meeting as planned. At the meeting, Antón quickly began to highlight the potential benefits that the agency would derive from awarding the contract to Hoch Engineering and how they had offered the best price in the industry. Mr Hassan appeared pleased with Antón’s presentation and assured him that he would speak to the bid selection committee about giving Antón’s company the highest preference. At the end of the meeting, Mr Hassan invited Antón to an event that the agency was hosting the next day. Antón asked to be excused from the invitation as he had not planned it in his itinerary and returned to Germany confident that Hoch Engineering would win the business. One week after his trip, he received an email saying that his company’s bid was unsuccessful.