|Call It Like You See It
A client recently told us a story that led to this Tip…
He was dealing with a large customer and received an RFP. He could tell by reading it that it was a half-hearted effort by his customer and that there was little chance that any decisions or changes would be made based on the responses. Instead, the customer intended to stick with the incumbent on this piece of the business. Faced with the reality of a time consuming RFP response for a deal he wasn't going to win, he considered his options. He decided to call the customer directly and say, "Here's what I think. This is just an exercise for you. If you simply need a number from me to fill out your grid, tell me and I'll spend a little time and get you a number. Let me know when you're serious and I will put a win plan in place and give you a great effort and win the business." The customer conceded, our client put together a simple response, and everything played out the way it was expected to.
This strategy is not right in every situation. Our client had the kind of strong working relationship that allowed him to be so direct with his procurement contact. They had established an honest dialogue and he felt he could be direct and in turn get an honest response. He also had a well-developed sense of discernment, which allowed him to be confident that he wasn't passing up a great opportunity.
In the right situations, a direct strategy can save a lot of time and effort, which we can then spend on deals we actually have a chance to win.