How to qualify your sales opportunity – Bid or No Bid?
This has got to be the number 1, top question in sales ‘as a salesperson I had to ask myself this daily; and when I was a sales manager, I was certainly asking my team often enough to keep them on their toes. In sales the most valuable resource we have is our time, and our biggest and most important decision is how we use our time most efficiently.
Good sales people are never short of prospects and opportunities, so the key question you have got to ask yourself is Bid or No Bid.
When you’re in a new sales role, naturally you want to be active and will talk to anybody who’s willing to listen, and you’ll work on any projects that come your way.
However it shouldn’t take long until your pipeline begins to fill and you start feeling busy. Now you’ve got important decisions to make about who you’re going to invest your time with. You’re decision is made all the more urgent when you need the support of other people within your organisation, and you have to consider the impact of their time and the opportunity cost of their efforts.
The decision to bid always requires the expenditure of time, money, and energy that could be invested elsewhere. So your call to either bid or no bid should not be taken lightly or made carelessly.
Sometimes the decision to go ahead or not is a already made, or it’s a “no brainer” because of existing relationship or the nature of the potential contract.
But when you have the choice it’s an important decision to me and to be successful in sales it’s vital you make this assessment intelligently and weigh up your prospects properly.
Here are 10 crucial questions you need to ask yourself when deciding to Bid or not:
1. Is this a “must Bid” opportunity?
2. Is the prospect really ready to buy? And honestly are you really in a position to be able to supply if they do buy?
3. Is the prospect looking for service and value over a simple price comparison? If they are deciding purely on price and you’re not the cheapest then save yourself a lot of hassle and effort and bow out now – No Bid!
4. Can you introduce some extra added value to the opportunity? Can you move the goalposts and alter the specification in your favour?
5. Do you have a good relationship with the client, and the decision makers?
6. Can you meet the requirement in full?
7. Do you have a defined competitive edge? Do you have a technical or commercial advantage that can add value to the opportunity?
8. Are you competitively priced? Either you have a cost competitive offer or you can tangibly offer added value?
9. Can you meet the timescales of the project?
10. Will this lead to further opportunities?
The more times you can answer ‘Yes’ the better this prospect is – 10 “Yes” answers and you’ve got a hot prospect here! Less than 7 and you need to think real hard if this is the best use of your time…
Making 401(k)s And IRAs More Like Pension Plans by
Who’s confiscating your 401(k) and IRA? Dateline Raleigh, NC, November 6, 2008: Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives discuss confiscating our 401(k)s and IRAs, by Carolina Journal Online reporter Karen McMahan.
This shocking pronouncement is certainly an attention grabber, which if even partially true, would have an impact on nearly every employed and retired American. The basis for the report is testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor in early October.
Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci is one of many witnesses (scholars, retirees, activists, an investment mogul, and benefits experts) who were interviewed by the committee members. (I was skipped over once again, but a receptive person in the HCEL was willing to forward a listing of my articles to the right person. I expect an invitation to testify momentarily)
McMahan writes: “Dr. Ghilarducci, professor of economic policy analysis at the New School for Social Research, drew the most attention and criticism. She proposed that the government eliminate tax breaks for 401(k) and similar retirement accounts, such as IRAs, and confiscate workers’ retirement plan accounts and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs) managed by the Social Security Administration.”
Several people have asked me to comment on the probability of such a radical approach ever getting any support, much less actually being implemented. Most feel that even the most socialistic of legislators would give the doctor’s ideas a quick thumbs down. I agree that they should, but part of the concept, tuned up “capitalistically”, could be precisely what this investment doctor would order.
Years ago, a not-quite-as-sophisticated-as-the-internet rumor mill spread a story that the Feds were scouring the countryside, knocking on doors, and confiscating $100 bills. The purpose of the venture was to put an end to the income-tax-dodging underground economy of the 80’s. Babysitters panicked, restaurateurs iced their C-notes in freezers, and self-employed franchisees plotted Caponesque money laundering schemes.
Nothing happened then that a 10% (or lower) Federal sales tax (coupled with seriously lower income taxes at all levels) wouldn’t cure today. So as scary as a 401(k) or IRA confiscation plan would be now, the panic will likely fade quietly away, just like the $100 bill outrage of the 80’s. The underground tax dodging continues, and at a magnitude that dwarfs any temporary tax relief that is afforded today’s self-directed savings plans.
One would think that, as a society, we would be capable of pouncing upon opportunities for brilliant solutions to problems of fairness like these. We just can’t seem to get out of our own political way. The fix to the retirement investment account fiasco is only slightly more complex than the incredibly easy solution to Social Security.
Dr. Ghilarducci has presented a socialist solution to a problem that could easily be dealt with using rudimentary controls that would limit the amount of risk allowed inside these tax deferred savings devices. She also ignores the fact that most self-directed money lies in voluntary, privately sponsored, employee benefit programs— emphasis on voluntary and private.
Self-directed retirement accounts could be controlled as to content and asset allocation to: 1) assure that a reasonable proportion of all accounts are guaranteed as to principal and interest, and 2) preclude ownership of high-risk securities.
I’m not sure that the good doctor grasps the distinction between a self-directed, defined-contribution, investment plan and a guaranteed, defined-benefit, pension plan. Most plan participants are led to believe that the former is just as secure as the latter. Sorry, Charlie.
The problems are to control the speculative enthusiasm of the unqualified self-directors, and to create a way for captive beneficiaries of the phantom Social Security trust fund to augment their guaranteed retirement benefits.
A few simple standards would create a whole new set of conservatively managed “retirement plan only” mutual funds, with reduced management fees— in deference to their captive audience and less speculative composition. Plan participants would not be able to speculate with their savings as they are today.
Some form of oversight would be needed to assure that no raw speculation was allowed into the new breed of standard mutual funds and CEFs. Instead, Dr. Ghilarducci visualizes all your no-longer-self-directed money finding a new home in the Social Security Administration’s toy chest— thus transforming a behemoth bureaucracy into an investment management giant! This is just too alarming for words—
But, what if, instead of a Guaranteed Retirement Account, we adopted a whole new system based on the SSRIA? (Google it.) No, it doesn’t exist yet, but the private sector could certainly provide it in a commission free, guaranteed income only contract, tomorrow.
The SSA could oversee the providors, who collectively have thousands of years’ experience, and thousands of investment professionals capable of managing guaranteed income vehicles. Just think about it. All employees could opt out of Social Security, and make a smaller, mandated contribution to their one SSRIA.
Employers could include the SSRIA as an option for both self-directed and matching contributions. Only SIBORAP Tier One securities would be acceptable investments. Existing Social Security balances could be frozen or directed to the personal SSRIAs.
This approach, admittedly far too simple for consideration, would create thousands of new jobs, eliminate the Social Security funding mess, add billions to personal disposable incomes, and with supervision, allow employers to cut prices, increase salaries and dividends, and create jobs.
Some would say that this approach can’t work with our broken system, as evidenced by the legions of Wall Street fat cats who encourage the creation of toxic products and who routinely pilfer shareholder treasuries for ludicrous sums. Shareholders should solve that problem, not the government— but the government could help if they chose to.
Pure capitalism disappeared years ago, traded in for a less efficient, but fairer, regulated version. It’s the regulators and their overseers that failed, leading us multi-derivative miles from the pure simplicity of stocks and bonds.
Steve Selengut Sanco Services Kiawa Golf Investment Seminars Author: “The Brainwashing of the American Investor: The Book that Wall Street Does Not Want YOU to Read” and “A Millionaire’s Secret Investment Strategy”.