Tom shares three steps that will turn your Request For Proposal responses into high value sales.
There was a time when I would have celebrated with you that your best prospect had just sent in an RFP (request for proposal). Now when I hear those fateful words, I shake my head and wonder what went wrong? By the time the customer has formed an RFP, most of the value in the project has evaporated. That’s why RFPs exist – they are to ensure that the customer doesn’t pay more for something than they feel it is worth. However, the amount of profit that someone is willing to let you earn is based on their perception of value, risk, and reward. Not yours. There is substantial additional value in your intellectual property, expertise, and innovation. An RFP assumes that these intangible contributions are value-added (read: free). How did the customer come to all these unfounded conclusions? Simple. You never gave them any reason to expect differently. Here is what is supposed to happen: You identify your target customer. Then you tailor your message to speak their language and establish you as an expert in your field (marketing). Next you seek out these targeted prospects (lead generation) and engage them in an intelligent conversation about their needs, pains, and intended outcomes (business development). If […]
And What to Do About Them Your sales team is not converting high-quality opportunities and you need to get to the bottom of it. If we know the symptom, we can diagnose the problem and apply the most effective counter-attack. The most common symptoms of ineffective selling are 1. Customers buying on price, 2. Quoting drills, and 3. Not closing deals. When customers insist on shopping on price, we know that this is partly from a lack a good value perspective but we also need to take into account customer insecurity. Our most effective response is to ask better questions, specifically to uncover the moment that price became important to the buyer. There is no substitute for thoughtful intuition in a sales representative, but developing some scripted questions can help less experienced reps delve into the buyer’s thought process. Without Thinking Questions, sales reps become order processors. Sometimes the customer seems to want version after version of the proposal. This is a byproduct of an unqualified opportunity being allowed to move forward. Customers often use your proposals as a tool to better educate themselves on what you do, what their options are, and how choices affect pricing. Sellers need to […]