One day as a salesperson sat in front of a buyer at his desk he noticed a price quote from his fiercest competitor out of the corner of his eye. Although it was in plain sight on top of a pile of papers, there was a soda can covering up the dollar amount of the quote.
While they spoke the buyer received a call from his boss to immediately come to his office down the hall. He jumped up and quickly left the room, telling the rep he would be back in a couple of minutes.
The salesman sat there staring at the stack of papers for what seemed like an eternity, and finally couldn’t help but lift the can to see the competitor’s quote. When he did, hundreds of BB’s bounced all around the room from the can that magically had no bottom.
There are two morals to this comical anecdote. The first one is, don’t ever pick up anything from a buyer’s desk. The second is, you are the one with the ability to cut your price, and your buyer has every right to try to get you to do it.
One way to get more sales is to speed up the sales cycle. But when it can’t be shortened, the game is to win the bid competition. Here are three thoughts about getting better at winning the bidding game.
1. Unwritten Rules of Bidding
No need to dwell here on the written bidding rules because they are…WRITTEN. If you become disqualified, well that’s on you for not reading the rules.
On the other hand to really be successful at winning bids you must consider the unwritten bidding rules. These can really make a difference in who wins deals, so let’s look at a few.
-Prospects buy on emotion but justify with facts, so don’t try to sell on hype.
-Buyers will question your claims, so include testimonials and credible third-party evidence.
-Purchasers don’t take time to read every word, so format your content for skimming.
-To buyers, differences between you and a competitor’s offer appears small, so don’t exaggerate them.
-Prospects have options. They can buy from someone else or possibly end up keeping their incumbent, or what they currently have. Often the status quo is your toughest competitor.
-Price is important but contrary to what you may think, it’s rarely the #1 decision criteria.
-Most buyers look for the lowest-priced bid that “qualifies,” but that could be the highest bid.
2. Don’t Get Stuck on Price
Price without value is meaningless, and value is what buyers get for what they pay. You must write proposals that connect the impact your service will have on the buyer’s business. Where appropriate, make sure to highlight how your proposed offering will:
- Help them Increase revenue
- Boost profitability
- Enhance the reputation of their brand
But selling value isn’t enough, as buyers become deluged with vendor’s information. If that were most important, the thickest bid would win, but it doesn’t. For your bid to be the winner it must persuade the buyer to take action. Persuasion is far superior to a data dump in sales proposals. If this is not accomplished and you get it wrong, you’re out of the running for how many years until they put out another RFP?
3. Help Buyers Make Better Buys
Mentally move around to the buyer’s side of the table and function as their assistant. Write the proposal as if your roles were reversed. Help them make better buys so that:
- Their desired outcomes are accomplished with no regulatory non-compliance
- They can see you are easy to use as a supplier and will not cause non-scheduled downtime
- Customers realize they are receiving fair value while safeguarding their reputation
- Budget objectives are achieved without productivity suffering
Do the things that will help buyers make better purchases than they could without you. Work toward becoming a trusted advisor and not simply a vendor.
If you are a B2B salesperson and this article has been helpful, you will really get your money’s worth if you read my book. Of the 116 different topics it contains, 22 are commercial specific. It’s available on my website HERE for $16 with FREE SHIPPING.
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