Depending on how long you have been in sales should determine your exact frustration level with RFP's and RFQ's. And, moreover, if you have been in the trucking and logistics world for long, you definitely know the frustrations and overwhelming workload of RFP's!
Also, if you are a career sales person, you have probably read at least something from Jeffrey Gitomer, an established salesman, sales coach and sales-philosophy innovator of the last few decades. He often points out a very big question when dealing with customers both old and new - "do you compete in a bid or not?"
Its a great question but as the world moves toward stronger software applications, pricing has become more transparent, more streamlined and consistent and also a much bigger piece of the final decision for customers down to the end user.
So what should a trucking and logistics company do when faced with an RFP?
- The first question you should ask yourself is "how well do I know my customer and how well do they KNOW ME?" Relationships DO matter, even when competition and pricing are big pieces of the pie. If you dont know much about your customer or contact, then I can promise you they know even less about you. Get to know your customers!
- How low should I go? Selling on price doesnt really work. Many companies put themselves out of business when they bid far below their thresholds, especially when markets change rapidly. Additionally, customers usually dont trust the randomly-priced low guy in the room.. its kinda "used-car-salesman-like". Instead, focus on your stronger points and price fairly, and accordingly.
- Find out where THEY NEED help. This is probably difficult information to gather if you dont know your customer, so (once again) that relationship comes into play. A good customer will pay a premium for excellent service on difficult and high-visibility needs. Find those needs and HANDLE WITH CARE!
- If you dont win, try again! Only this time, add some value... If you got lucky enough to get on the bid the first time but didnt win anything, spend the next cycle trying to learn more about your potential customer so they want YOU to win business. And if you're lucky enough (and stay on the front of their mind), they might run into their own problems with their current vendors and offer an immediate entry, based off of persistence and merit.
AMX competes for a lot of business each year, and we win our fair share. But the common denominator always seems to fall back on -relationships, performance and THEN price. Our goal is to make the first two our strongest points so that price is just a bonus for our customer!