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Sales Dish of the Day: RFPs

Filed under: Sales Dish of the Day

Responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) can be intimidating – but when you have advice from the experts, not so much: Don’t be offended by being asked to bid – put yourself in the client’s shoes. Respond in a way that educates your prospect about promo products. Give examples of case studies and what you’ve done in the past. Point out how you offer quality and service rather than just a lowball price.

– From Advantages magazine

1 Comment

  1. Victoria Archer Says:

    I love to bid…this means the client wants to hear what I have to say! How cool is that?! Bidding gives me the perfect opportunity to tell a captive audience not only what they want to hear, but to express it in a way that is meaningful and captivating. Woo hoo!

    If you’re not sure how to respond to an RFP, seek guidance. I have seen many a competitor lose business because their response to an RFP was poorly executed. It’s not complicated and once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite fun.

    I would stay away from comparing yourself against other companies and or making less than favorable remarks about the competition. To do so, only implies weakness and makes you look bad. Stay focused on what makes you the best choice for their business.

    Selling value is key. If I get into a bidding war, then the client ceases to see me as a resource and I become just another commodity. Sometimes it is necessary to walk away from business. When I have to do that, I am honest and upfront with the client by telling them that I am probably not the best choice for that particular project and I may even refer them to someone else. They will respect you in the long run and, later, you won’t have a headache wondering why in the world you worked on such a low margin.

    When possible, present your RFP in person. Many, many companies do not do this and because developing a rapport with your client is key to longevity, the more you are in front of them, the more likely they are to remember you and buy from you.

    If your business is not chosen for the project it now becomes a learning opportunity. Ask questions, what could you have done differently? If the project is something that occurs on a regular basis, calendar it in advance so you can pitch on it when it comes up again. Don’t assume you will be asked to bid again; there may be a different buyer then and they may not know who you are.

    Last thing…always, always, always be prepared.

    Monday June 22, 2009

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