Or a sales tool to be used for your advantage?

So often when responding to a request for quotation or tender the detail the customer is asking for becomes a bureaucratic burden, particularly when the customer is a government agency.  So much unnecessary detail, so much duplication.  The form required, and it is so often a form, just seems to go on and on, requesting unnecessary and irrelevant information.

It all becomes a pain in the you know whatsit!  It is tempting to rush through the information requested, providing the minimum requested to get to the real requirement, which of course is your price.  And as a result, because you feel you HAVE to comply, and it’s a BURDEN, you may well respond badly.  

Responding badly of course doesn’t help your case.

There is another way of looking at this, a way that may help your chances of winning considerably.  

Take a step back from the quotation or tender.  What is stopping potential customers from buying from you in a non-tender situation?  Customers won’t buy when they have possible objections in their mind, questions not really answered or when they feel there may be some risk in the deal.  You need to overcome the objections, take away the risk and give them good reasons to choose you.

So what could some of those objections be?

  • You haven’t done this type/size of job before?
  • Can anybody actually verify what you claim?
  • How do they know you know how to do the job?
  • Will you be able to finish the job on time?

On the other hand they will probably feel some comfort if the product or service you provide has worked for others.  

  • How have others found your service?
  • Would anyone be prepared to recommend you?
  • Can anyone reassure the buyer as to your capability?

The customer doesn’t want to look a fool if something goes wrong.  So where are the risks?

  • Do you have systems and procedures?
  • Can you properly plan projects?
  • How do you overcome the unexpected?

In a world of choice, why should the customer choose you?  What makes you different?  For example:

  • Have you demonstrated particular and useful experience and expertise
  • Do you do things differently – innovate to improve your efficiency and effectiveness?

One way or another, you probably go through this process of reassuring the customer when making a sale.  It may be verbally, giving the prospective customer examples of the work you have done, the successes you have had, the customers who will give you a reference.  Or you may have a company profile which includes this sort of information.

You seek to make your potential customer as comfortable as possible in dealing with you.  A decision in your favour becomes a comfortable and logical next step.

Now step back to look at that bureaucratic burden you have been dealing with.  In most cases all that bureaucratic detail you have been cursing is doing much the same thing.  It is aimed at removing objections, reducing risk and enabling the customer to feel comfortable with you.

Turning that pain in the whatsit into a sales tool for you will not only give you a completely different perspective, it will also considerably improve your success rate.