Am I willing to Win?
We all like to win. For many sales people, “the win” is incredibly important. But – if you win just by being the cheapest bidder, is that really your win? Or, is it your customer’s procurement department?
There is a legitimate approach to business of “I shall wait for the tender to arrive and then bid as low as I can”. If you are a senior manager, or your business owner, or the VP of Sales, is this good enough? Consider whether you are pushing people to work in tender-response mode. If so, what message are you sending?
- Don’t spend time aligning with customers
- Don’t bother to find out what is important
- Don’t waste time meeting people and getting to understand the customer organization
- Don’t bother trying to differentiate from your competitors
Remember: customers will gravitate to the lowest price unless there is a better value alternative.
If there is a better approach, you won’t get the opportunity to work out what that is. Most likely, you won’t even get to discuss it, once the tender has arrived. Your customer won’t necessarily get the chance even to look at any alternatives you might put in.
Is this really the message you want to send? If so, you are on a trend which may end with you supplying a product or service where margins are so tight that any mistake or re-work will result in a loss. Of course, you need to understand your costs, know what your break-even is, you need to do the analysis of the project timescales and resources. A continuous effort from Operations striving to improve quality and turnaround, and thus lower costs, is a part of every business.
If you want to prosper, and not be entirely focussed on a race to the bottom, then take a moment to think about where your businesses’ approach to selling is focussed. If you are not giving your people the time to engage in the “Golden Quadrant”, then you will still win business, but you will have to win it on price. If you don’t give your sales people enough time to stop and think about how to approach an opportunity, then when it comes to tendering, whatever your differentiation is, will be lost.
However, giving people the time to take a Proactive Sales approach is an investment. It is an investment in their time, an investment in training them so they have the skills to do their job, perhaps a small investment in providing them with the tools (see PSC). The return on investment in improving pricing is typically enormous. So whether it is your own time and effort, or your team, there is a simple question:
…are you willing to make that investment? Are you willing to win?