Here is a little pre-Thanksgiving humor for my sales compatriots out there courtesy of Scott Adams. If you’ve ever been in this sales situation, you’ll get a kick out of the Dilbert strip above. Scott has a great site by the way, where you can buy relevant strips for your marketing efforts.
So what’s the lesson here? I have given up on responding to vague and/or rushed RFPs, and I would recommend you do the same. If the prospective client is not willing to sit down with you and work through some basic questions that will allow you to craft a response both more accurate and relevant to them, you’re probably column-fodder on their spreadsheet anyway.
I can’t tell you how many times early in my career I took valuable time (in some cases all night) responding to a long RFP for which I knew in the pit of my stomach we had no prayer of winning.
Now, asking for the “pre-proposal discovery meeting” has become a valuable step in qualifying the opportunity before burning the resources to craft a solution and response.
Don’t let your Pointy Haired Boss make you work all day Thursday unless you have had your meeting.