120x120RFPLosing the first mover advantage on sales call is a tough spot to find yourself in. This is the typical case when you receive an RFP from a client. But all is not lost!

These situations can be turned to your advantage but it’s very important to first realize that you aren’t the only cook in the kitchen.

Probe for Answers

Ask them where they are in the buying process and why they started looking into possible solutions in the first place.

Figure out what problems they face and what the catalyst was for started the RFP or discovery process.

Something like “Regarding your “XYZ” problem, what steps have you guys taken in regards to making this decision?”

Avoid leading questions that might point them to potential competitors because they might not have gotten that far yet!

Look For Warning Signs

Having an inbound and seemingly hot lead come in the door can amp up even the most experienced sales rep, but it’s important not to get too excited and overlook some potential warning signs.

A potential client that truly is interested in the RFP/proposal from your company will be willing to be flexible and see what you have to offer.

Some common warning signs of a company simply out to fill an RFP quota or do their ‘due diligence’ include:

  1. Using a competitors name or their marketing jargon
  2. Not reading material you send over (pro tip: use read receipts on all emails you send!)
  3. They are unwilling to make schedules work together.
  4. Being slow to respond to your typical follow up questions
  5. Or they are reluctant to share basic inside information
  6. Push to get you to submit a proposal to meet a self-imposed and unnecessarily short deadline

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to see that the odds are stacked against to and it’s likely that they have been dealing with your competition.

You could throw in the towel, and move on to a hotter sales opportunity or you could try and reverse the odds. Which is the subject of our next post. Make sure to subscribe to the blog for updates!