This is from a conversation on LinkedIn. The discussion group is LinkedIn Sales / Marketing Executives (CSO/CMO).
How would you interpret this scenario?
By Mitch Emerson Co-founder, Compelligence, Inc.
You’ve gone through a pretty thorough sales process with a potential customer–multiple meetings and demos for the end users and decision makers of your product or service; they say they love it and it’s what they need. They then ask for a bid so they can get it into their budget planning…and then they totally disappear–no replies to e-mails or phone calls for multiple months. They put time and interest in from multiple people at the beginning so it doesn’t -appear- to be just a competitive bid request or a fishing trip. Any tips for what you would do with that situation?
By Jacques Werth
Author “High Probability Selling”
Mitch – That situation presents a valuable lesson. Many prospects take advantage of salespeople who do a lot of work in hope of getting their business.
Never do work for a prospect, unless you have an assurance from the *top decision maker* that you will get their business if you can meet his/her requirements. Then, find out what their requirements are, and figure out whether you can meet them, or not. That does not “guarantee” you’ll get their business, but it can minimize your exposure.
Regarding the described situation, respond to the request for a bid, with an offer to help them write the Request for Quotations. Then, design the RFQ so that it’s very difficult for any competitor to meet its requirements.
Using that strategy, I have sold $100s of millions, of everything from waterproofing dams, tunnels, and ballistic missile silos, to high tech capital equipment, and sales training.
We invite you to submit your High Probability Prospecting Offer as a comment on this post. Jacques Werth and/or Carl Ingalls may review your prospecting offer and provide suggestions on how it can be made more consistent with High Probability Prospecting.
We also invite other readers to comment on people’s prospecting offers. Many of our readers are very knowledgeable about High Probability Prospecting.
Before you submit a prospecting offer for review, keep in mind these points.
- Review Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer (a previous post on this blog).
- Add a comment to this blog post, and include your prospecting offer in your comment.
- Before you click on the button to submit your comment, you may want to click on the checkbox that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”.
- Submit only one prospecting offer at a time. If you put more than one prospecting offer in your comment, we are less likely to respond.
- Do not include any hyperlinks in the body of your comment. You may enter a hyperlink in the text box labeled “URI” if you wish.
- Your comment (and any replies to it) will be public, available for anyone to see. You may use your real name and your real company name if you want, or you may use an alias instead, like “This is John Doe of ABC Company.”
Please note that this is an experiment. We don’t know how well it will work. If it turns out well, we may continue it. If not, we may remove this post and all comments.
2019 Update – This experiment has been going very well. Readers are welcome to post High Probability Prospecting Offers for review.
by Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls – Updated May 2019 by Ingalls
Structure. There are 3 parts to a High Probability Prospecting Offer:
- Identify yourself (full name) and who you represent (name of organization).
- Identify what you are selling in this particular offer.
- Identify one or two features about what you are selling.
After we present the offer, we ask, “Is that something you want.” We do not count that as part of the offer.
Guidelines. Keep these points in mind when creating a prospecting offer.
- Make the offer very specific. Do not try to create an offer that covers everything you sell. When a prospect says “no” to your offer, you need to have a different offer the next time you call the same prospect.
- Be factual and use neutral matter-of-fact wording and intonation.
- Use simple language. Avoid jargon, even when you are certain that the prospect would understand it.
- No persuasion, no convincing arguments. Do not include anything that sounds like a reason why the prospect should buy.
- Do not use the words “you” or “your” or “yours” in the offer. The first time we refer to the prospect that way is when we ask the question after the offer.
- Be very brief and concise. Use a maximum of 30 words in the offer, even if it means you have to use one feature instead of two.
- When you identify yourself, it is best to start with “This is”. The results are better than if you say “My name is”. We don’t know why.
- Don’t say “Hello” and don’t say “How are you”, unless the prospect says something like that to you first.
- Use your full name. Never use just your first name by itself.
- For instance, “This is Jacques Werth of High Probability Selling.”
- When you identify what you are selling, make sure your wording is simple and easy to understand. Also, it is better to make it clear what a customers gets from you (the “Get”), rather than saying something that you do.
- Use Features, not Benefits. A feature is a concrete attribute that describes part of what you are selling, part of what the prospect gets immediately. A benefit is a positive outcome that can happen later.
- A feature can be something that differentiates your product or service.
- A feature can be used to “paint a picture” of what you are selling, in a way that makes it more real or solid in the prospect’s mind.
- Use features to make your offer more specific. Next time you call the same prospect with an offer for the same product or service, use a different set of features.
Having good prospecting offers is important, but it’s only part of the process. How you use your prospecting offers is just as important.
2019-05-14 Update by Carl Ingalls
Previously, we recommended a maximum of 45 words in the offer, and we also recommended two features in each offer. We now believe this makes the offer far too long, and we now recommend a maximum of 30 words in a High Probability Prospecting Offer. Shorter is usually better, even if it means that you have to use only one feature instead of two.
I have added several details to the guidelines that were not in the original post. – Ingalls