There is an interesting article from consultant Bob Grossman.
Here's the conclusion and key claim:
it is frustrating to listen to bidders complain that we only look at price when all you give us to look at is price. Everyone has great references, a nice Web site and some really sharp people working there. But not everyone has the product knowledge to improve upon our specifications and add value based on their “real world” experiences. If you have that kind of knowledge, let it show in your bid responses and proposals. We’re all looking for happy customers and a reasonable profit margin, and if you’ve got ideas that can move a project in that direction, you may just have the “special sauce” the client is looking for.
The net/net is: if you can improve the specifications / design, you may get yourself the job.
The most likely counters are (1) the consultant is already set it stone what they want or (2) they will take the information provided and turn around and use it to find the lowest bid to implement that approach.
But, on the other hand, if a consultant was really open and willing, his advice could be very helpful for knowledgeable integrators.
What do you think?