Gregory T. Wilk
The Double Standard of Selling
Has this ever happened to you?…
You get a call from a prospect who asks you to submit a proposal. You’re excited! You get all your initial qualification questions answered and you are led to believe that you’re the only vendor asked to submit a proposal. The prospect provides all the information requested as you accelerate through each phase in the sales process. You’re feeling really good about your proposal submission and believe you are a shoe-in to get the business. Commission check here you come! Then one, two, maybe three weeks go by without a response from the prospect. Next thing you know they’ve decide to stay with their current vendor or they go with another competitor you find out they were secretly talking with the entire time.
Later, you finally get a chance to ask the prospect about why you weren’t selected and they rationalize their deceptive behavior based on the prudent business practice of seeking 3 bids to get the best deal. You’re dumbfounded. You can’t believe this has happened.
So, let’s turn this entire situation around now. Let’s say the prospect finds out that your company was being deceptive with your pricing, delivery dates, solution, etc; the chances of your company being removed from the bid process are almost guaranteed. From the prospect’s view, you exhibited a lack of integrity, character and trustworthiness. Do you think the prospect would consider your company for another opportunity? Not a chance. In the eyes of the prospect, the damage is done no matter what you say or do. Not only have you lost time and money pursuing this opportunity, but more importantly, your company’s reputation is now at risk. One of the realities of doing business these days is that sales professionals and the companies they represent are expected to uphold and exhibit a much higher standard of integrity and character.
The double standard: clients can, you can’t.
How can you avoid falling into this trap again?
First, stay true to doing business with only those companies that meet your Ideal Target Client Profile, which represents your most profitable clients, financially and relationally. Second, you must develop a trusting relationship with key personnel (influencer(s) and/or decision maker) within the prospective company. Third, by methodically applying both key qualification criteria to every opportunity, you can avoid falling into this trap 99% of the time.
Finally, what I find quite intriguing about this double standard, if given the chance, most companies would bid again!