Tip of the Month
The IMPAX Tip of the Month is written for business development professionals who have learned and are implementing the IMPAX Process (in the form of IMPAX Strategic Account Sales Process, IMPAX Superior Account Management Process and IMPAX Strategic Inside Sales Process, among others). These Tips deal with subjects including Research, Communication and Presentation. For more Tips on dealing with Procurement, interviewing, relationship development, effective presentation delivery and much more, see the Tip of the Month archive and our book, Beyond Selling Value.
An Artful Dodge
Saying no to a customer’s request for a proposal in a professional manner is hard. Turning the opportunity around, breaking the rules and changing the competitive landscape is even harder. Doing this well takes conviction, professionalism and courage.
Here is an example to consider:
- A client of ours found themselves reviewing an RFP from a very desirable prospect and could see that they had little chance to win the deal, even though they were the leading player in their industry.
- It was a significant RFP which would require a lot of time and effort with little chance of payback.
- They decided to try to change the rules of engagement, so here was their response:
“Thank you for considering our company in your RFP process. Without the opportunity to personally discuss your business objectives and requirements so we can better understand your needs, we respectfully decline the opportunity to bid for your business. Without a better understanding of why you may wish to change providers, we do not have enough information to fully form our value proposition to ensure that any benefits we could bring to you would meet your requirements.
We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you if you would like to explore this opportunity any further, and in any case would like to do so after this process has concluded to better understand how we may support you in future business opportunities.”
This was their opportunity to say “no” while inviting a “yes” with different rules of engagement. It was effective because they:
- Were appreciative for the opportunity
- Shared the reason they were declining (which was completely reasonable)
- Showed that they would like to be considered in the future and were willing to do the work necessary to be effective
Was it successful? Here is the customer’s reply:
“As per my voicemail, I am keen to discuss the tender. We do not, as a general rule, like to host clarification meetings in advance of first round bids. However, I’m keen to understand what information you feel is missing in order to bid for this business.”
This led to a research meeting, which led to a differentiated response, which led to a win!
Every month IMPAX provides thousands of sales and account management professionals with a thought leading Tip of the Month. These tips support and expound on the IMPAX Process by addressing topics such as executive presentation delivery skills, powerful gatekeeper strategies and compelling interviewing techniques.
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