- Teaches service providers how to win in competition and retain and expand committed client relationships using the Third Level Selling and Services principles.
- Clients by sector: real estate - Eastdil, JLL, Colliers, CBRE, Avison Young; financial services - Morgan Stanley, GE Capital, Wells Fargo; professional services firms - Baker Tilly, Slalom Consulting, ROI Communications.
- All 7 Best Practices
- Pre-Meeting Discovery Process
- One-on-One Call with Expert
- Meeting Summary Report
- Post-Meeting Engagement
Winning in Competition: Strategies for RFPs and Bake-Offs
- The financial service market is becoming much more competitive.
- Most service providers are feeling more commoditized as clients are forcing them through more competitive and expensive bake-offs. Service provider win rates may be falling, so they are probably competing more on price so margins are dropping. Many times a small group at the top are generating the lion's share of the business and the rest are underperforming.
Unfortunately most of this commoditization is self-inflicted as service providers use almost identical language to describe their capabilities. If potential clients can't see how one providers is different and better than another, then of course they will decide based upon the one thing that is different: price.
Most service providers like to think of themselves as strategic partners. However, only 5 percent actually achieve that status in the eyes of their clients. These elite service providers have the biggest and most profitable clients. They rarely compete on price, and they do well in good and bad markets.
What do these elite providers do differently than the rest of us to win new clients and retain the ones they have? They engage clients at a deeper personal and professional level, a "third level" that leads to greater success and career satisfaction and less price competition.
From the client’s perspective, top competitors pretty much look the same. On the other hand, clients feel that their situation, project, people, preferences, and process are unique. Most professionals who sell services try to force clients to recognize and value increasingly nuanced differences in their capabilities. (I call this “vendor differentiation.”)
Strategic partners create client preference and loyalty by finding and aligning to what is unique about the client, the project, client preferences, and process (I call this “client differentiation”), and then marshaling the resources of their company to implement a completely unique solution that helps their client win.
- Vendors' win rates are not adequate: They're either not meeting projected goals or they're decreasing.
- As competition increases, the field of competition tends to converge on price. Every one of these competitors claims to have the best people, the most experience, customized solutions, and the best platform. A lot of this talk is lost in the noise level and clients begin to look at price alone. The key is to accelerate your message to answer the client’s three questions: What’s different about you, why should I care, and why should I believe you?
- There’s a huge difference between the results produced by the top 10 percent compared with the remaining 90 percent of the sales staff.
The top performers in selling services tend not only to outperform the rest, but the margin of their superiority is huge. Look in on any sales training or seminar and you will see the better producers engaged and taking notes, while the lower-quality performers are looking at their Smartphones. Rather than concentrating on bringing lower-tier performers up to the highest standards, best-in-class firms focus on their winners. A small tweak to a winner’s technique can pay off huge dividends.
- Salespeople are trained to gain new customers but have little or no training in winning, retaining and expanding existing client relationships.
- Surprisingly, satisfied clients are not loyal. They don’t come back automatically. They complete a project and then vendors have to compete again for contracts. The mistake many vendors make is concentrating more on new business than on nurturing their existing clients with the aim of transforming them into partners. Highly satisfied customers are not only loyal, they actually become your best sales channels.
- Vendors are increasingly facing a multiple decision-maker environment.
- As choices become more costly and more complicated, more people are involved as decision makers and as influencers. Each of these different players have their own parochial interests. The key is to gain access to the various players and make sure you’re aligning both rationally and emotionally to each of these players.
Each one of these decision-makers and influencers have their own perception about how they know, like, and trust the vendor representative. The vendor's role is to understand their business, their role, their threats, their preferences and their opportunities.