Move beyond the rabbit: sales strategy to be a game changer
In Negotiating with Backbone, a Rabbit is the vendor or salesperson that often gets asked, at the last minute, to bid on a deal or respond to an RFP. You are a Rabbit when you:
- Have no relationship with the decision-maker
- Are surprised when you receive the RFP request for response
- Have little time to prepare and submit the bid
- Receive no feedback to questions about competitors and decision criteria
We call that position the Rabbit, and your sole purpose from the customer's perspective is to drive down the price of a favored supplier.
Bottom line: you have no chance of winning the business.
But, if you feel compelled to pursue the business, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of actually getting serious consideration in the process. First, you need to have an understanding of the customer, what their real needs are, problem to be solved, and who that preferred vendor is or, at least, who the other bidders are. If you can't find that information out, take a hundred dollar bill out of your pocket and rip it up. Now, how did that feel? Yes, of course you didn't, because that would be stupid. Well, pursing a deal when you are the Rabbit, if you can't get that information is like ripping up that hundred-dollar bill: it's stupid.
So, if you can get that information, but you aren't willing to walk away, what is the next step? You have to decide if you can be a "game changer" and move into the Crafty Outsider position. To change your position, you must first get a meeting with the decision-maker(s) and be ready to give them a compelling reason why what they are planning may not be in their best interest and subsequently why you have a better solution. Present a compelling value proposition about how your products and/or services are better or, perhaps, how your solution can subsequently reduce their costs or help them sell more of their products. If you can help them see a better outcome, you can change the game!
We have never seen it work without the information and access we suggested above. Still feel compelled to pursue that business? Rip up that hundred-dollar bill first. Can't do it, can you?