The best way to improve your win ratio is to stop bidding on stuff you can’t win. - Tom Amrhein
That sounds both true and simple. But I still see many salespeople spend oceans of time and resources writing proposals that never turn into orders.
They have become “proposal-generating entities” instead of sales organisations.
I see many salespeople, for instance, who react on queries and requests from prospective customers, even though they have had no contact with them beforehand. They receive the request and immediately start answering it. Why?
How great a chance do you think you have of winning the order, if you have had no contact with the decision makers? Statistics indicate that you only have 5% chance of winning in cases where you write offers based on customer requests.
You will maybe say, “Yes, but they sent it to us. They must be interested in us.” And they probably are. But what they are interested in is to have another name to add to the list of vendors they are also checking out; in addition to the company they have already decided to deal with. Or they are interested in someone providing a very low price, which they can use to put pressure on their current supplier.
As I see it, there are four questions that you need to quickly answer in order to avoid wasting your time:
- Do I know enough about this request at this stage to evaluate the case?
- Is this a real sales opportunity?
- Can we compete effectively?
- Will we have a realistic chance to win?
For example: In order to determine if it is a real opportunity, you need to know if the prospect has a real need or problem, and if they have the means put aside to pay for a solution.
When you are asked to respond blindly to requests, then call the customer and tell them you are very interested in bidding, but in order to do a good job you need to understand their needs, their business situation, their goals, their reality, etc.
Ask for a two-hour interview with the decision makers. If the customer refuses to arrange these interviews, they aren’t serious. And then you shouldn’t waste your time. Those of you working primarily with public contracts know that it is almost always impossible to contact the decision makers, once the tender has been released. And that is OK – if you know and realize that you have little or no chance of winning.
I wish you luck qualifying your opportunities.
There is lots of business out there.
You may as well go for the sales you have a chance to win.
Write fewer offers.
Learn more about how to close more deals but write less offers in our free E-book, Accelerate Sales - the Seven Golden Keys
By Brian Stahlhut Christiansen, CEO & Cofounder, Milestone Selling