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Sales Training - Request for Proposal (RFP)

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Unless you wrote the Request for Proposal (RFP), the deal is probably already done; and not in your favor.  This statement may be confusing because aren’t RFP’s, especially when the government is issuing them, supposed to be open to everyone and not have any biases?  Yes they are.  But that’s usually not the reality.  I’m not suggesting anyone is doing anything illegal.  I am suggesting that people have certain biases, likes and preferences.  And these can bleed over into the RFP process. 

The purpose of the Sales Getters system is to prepare you for any kind of sales situation.  RFP’s are sometimes one of those situations, especially if you sell to the government or large companies.  One of the problems with RFP’s is that they take a long time and plenty of resources to complete.  Sometimes they take entire departments.  So, you have to be able to determine if the RFP is biased toward another vendor and if you want to participate.  There are few things you want to ask yourself and the prospect, before jumping in:

·         How long have I had this relationship with the company and how good is it?

·         Did I know this RFP was coming?

·         Is there wording or phrases in the RFP that look like (or did) they come from my competitor’s web site?

·         Was I asked what should be included if they sent an RFP?

·         How and who will make the decision?  Do I have a relationship with them?

·         Will I be able to make a presentation?

·         Will the decision be made on price alone?

·         Is consideration being made for the incumbent?


You may have no choice whether or not you must complete the RFP.  However, if you do have a choice and you came up with the wrong answers to the questions above, save yourself the time and trouble.  There is a good chance this RFP received help, knowingly or unknowing, by your competitor. 

The best thing you can do to head this off is establish a relationship early, get them using your product in an evaluation setting and seeing its benefits, and trying to get some of your unique features into the RFP.

Sales Homework –Your only assignment in this lesson is to ask yourself the questions above when deciding whether or not to respond to an RFP.

Sales Managers
– If you make the decision to proceed, you better know you have a good chance of winning the RFP before investing the resources.

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