Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2017-11-06 19:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

I took a long break from managing RFP’s for clients while eDJ tilted at the market analyst windmills. Those long five years of research prepared me to define client requirements, budget ROI support and to manage the subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Unfortunately, they also let me forget how few sales organizations/reps are mature enough to view an independent consultant as anything more than an impediment to converting the prospect to a closed deal. Too many modern reps are sales speed daters focused on creating an artificial relationship with the ‘decision makers’ that they can leverage into an emotion based sale. That perspective transforms my role from facilitator to duenna. They are so busy trying to bypass the imaginary gatekeeper that they miss the opportunity to educate and cultivate an advocate who deeply understands the client pain points, politics and goals. Below are some carefully anonymized sales tactics to be avoided by reps AND clients. Love to hear some of your pet peeves.

  • Lead off initial materials/presentation with a plain language statement of what you are selling and how it can be bought. Don’t make me ask in front of the client.
  • Ditch the cast of thousands for sales calls/meetings. No one can remember all the names and roles anyway.
  • Read and address any gaps in the RFP requirements up front. Don’t make me dig out and confirm your lack of coverage in front of the client. That does not mean decline to answer, just be up front about what you don’t do.
  • Don’t make me sign an NDA just to qualify your offerings. I get that your bosses are paranoid that your pricing will go public (hint, it is already). Everyone who touches cases already has a confidentiality obligation that probably covers your proposal.
  • Don’t rush to pricing other than to confirm budget range. Focus on key requirements.
  • Don’t even try to back channel the clients. It is slimy. They WILL tattle on you to the team. It is hard to trust someone who appears to be playing games or trying to manipulate things.
  • Qualify the budget and project commitment early. Realize that no one wants to acknowledge that they don’t have the money or exec approval to buy.
  • Using competitor gossip, dirt, rumors and kill sheets just tells customers that you are not confident in your own offering/pricing. Keep it positive and clean. Remember that you may be working for your competitor next month.
  • Get off demo/deck autopilot. Ask or solicit questions. Focus on client usage cases and show them how THEY would use the tech/service.
  • Don’t fight the client decision when you are cut from consideration. Ask when it is appropriate to circle back for feedback and don’t try last second discounts or to solicit confidential competitor info/pricing. Lose gracefully and lay the foundation for the next opportunity.
  • Clients should refrain from using competitor prices to leverage discounts. Tech and services are rarely apples-to-apples equivalents. Good sales are a win-win for both sides. You can bet that a provider will find a way to make up for loss leader pricing somewhere or go out of business.
  • Don’t offer bribes in any form to the consultant or the client. A ‘sales commission’ is just a fancy bribe after the fact to a decision maker or trusted advisor.
  • Clients should graciously decline expensive dinner meetings and similar comps until it is time to celebrate the sale and build the ongoing relationship.

The list goes on, but I think that I have vented sufficiently to get back to work.

Stay skeptical my friends!

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients. His active research topics include analytics, mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365/2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment. Greg is no longer a journalists and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? eDJ Group is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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