A customer calls to ask you to participate in a competitive bid in order to retain their business. This is a frustrating situation. You’ve been serving this customer, successfully, you thought. But now they are asking you to “sharpen your pencil”, “provide them with any new ideas you have”, “share with them your methods and approaches”, and “explain your cost and profit structure.”
How do you respond to this? Do you drop your price? Do you explain the value you’ve already been adding? All this seems a day late and a dollar short. You’re already off-balance and in reaction mode.
The time to sell this deal was before now. By measuring customer satisfaction and linking it to account service and account management (sales). Then acting on that information and doing more of what your customers love. Measuring and responding to customer satisfaction qualitative and quantitative information can prevent the urge to bid out contracts by keeping satisfaction levels high. And in the event of a customer decision to bid, it provides metrics and information that can be used in the proposal to allow for pinpoint pricing decisions and to provide evidence of value delivered to the customer.
The answer to the question; “When do you sell your next deal?” is to sell it before you need to while you are servicing your customer and using their feedback and direction in improving your product and services.