I’m grateful that I don’t rely on bid-oriented business. While several of our clients deal with RFP’s, RFQ’s and bid requests frequently, I’ve always avoided it for Imagine. However, from time-to-time (primarily because of positive word-of-mouth), we get requests. Today was such a day. I received an email addressed to me from an organization that had heard about us and was seeking services to better understand their customers, develop programming to increase impact and measure that impact. I was struck by three things:
- The idea that an organization would actually reach out to a company, having never talked with them before, to brazenly ask for such a proposal.
- Receiving this request on March 1, stating We need to receive a bid for services by Monday, March 8, 2010. We realize this may be an aggressive request, but we are on a strict time line to secure a consulting firm and begin work immediately. (Their bold, not mine).
- Most impactful and depressing is my belief that companies (many of them) will actually respond to this request.
Everyday, I hear from executives and salespeople that all buyers care about is price, and, I’ve written extensively about this not being true. But I’ll tell you, the more selling organizations are willing to play such silly games, the more buyers will continue to use such ineffective processes to make (bad) decisions. Selling organizations need to STOP playing these games. I don’t care if your competitors will play. Your job, unless you want to see your profits margins plummet to unsustainability, is to get buyers to make decisions a different way.
This is what selling is all about, and this is why businesses need to be proactive in the market. The first – and often, most important – sale is getting buyers to make decisions the right way.
Focus on that, and you’ll be able to laugh at these requests too.