Sales Coaching 101: Red Flags - RFPs 4 months ago

Sales coaching asks questions of the salesperson to help them to improve their understanding of the opportunity they’re involved in and ask themselves and the buyer the questions that will move the sale forward in the most positive way …or decide they shouldn’t be bidding at all.

The sort of issues that should raise alarm with the salesperson aren’t always obvious to them, or they may know about them, but choose to ignore them in the excitement of what appears to be an excellent opportunity.

One of the fundamental Red Flag issues is being brought in near the end of the buying process and being asked to submit an RFP (Request for Proposal). This could be because the prospective customer has done all their own research and has now short-listed those that satisfy their requirements, or it could simply be they need to have a few alternatives to their chosen supplier to make the process look balanced and fair.

To investigate this Red Flag situation, the sort of question the sales coach may pose are:  “Did you ask, Why have you contacted Us?” If the salesperson hasn’t thought to ask, or has been given a simplistic answer, it could well raise the Red Flag and require the sales coach to guide the salesperson to do a lot more investigation than they’d thought was required.

The salesperson could well be pleased at having been invited into a mature buying process that appears ‘right’ for them. However, the sales coach needs to get the salesperson to understand this may not be as good a situation as it may seem. As a guide, the sales coach can  outline a number of scenarios that would cause them to be concerned about the opportunity and allow the salesperson to fill in the details of the current situation.

In the late entrant situation, one of the ways the sales coach can get the salesperson to understand whether they are being looked at seriously, or are simply there to make up the numbers, is to ask “Have they committed time and access to you?” This discussion emerging from this should point the salesperson in the direction of how to determine their true potential in this opportunity.  

Should the salesperson gain time and access to senior management, they are in a much better position to be able to judge their likelihood of winning the sale, without that the likelihood is very low. The corollary is, if the salesperson can’t gain time and access, they probably need to look at what other opportunities they could be working on.

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