I have written in the past about how I don’t believe buyers should want or encourage a fair buying process. Especially not fair as it pertains to letting an RFP and trying to create a level playing field.
As a buyer, you should want to stack the deck in as heavily in favor of the salesperson and the company that will best help you achieve your goals and objectives.
Fairness Equals a Bad Process
If fairness is determined by all of the potential partners answering the same set of questions and then giving the salespeople from each company equal time to present, then fairness equals a bad process.
There are some salespeople and some companies that haven’t lifted a finger to express an interest in working with you. They haven’t worked to nurture relationships, and they haven’t done anything to prove that they can or will create value for you.
There isn’t any reason that the salesperson that has done nothing should be given the same opportunity as the salesperson that has worked to nurture the relationship and proven their worth.
Clearly, salespeople that haven’t shown an interest don’t deserve the same amount of time or the same consideration as others who have made investments in advance of the opportunity.
One Hour and Thirty Minutes Isn’t Enough Time
You want to spend as much time as you can with the salespeople and the companies that have proven their interest and who have taken steps to bring their ideas to bear on your business problems, challenges, and issues.
A healthy buying process requires that you spend time with the salesperson and the sales organization to ensure that you can together create the outcomes that you need. You can’t make this investment in every potential partner, and you can easily decide who gets in by determining who has already invested enough to earn the right.
An hour and thirty minutes may be enough for you to decide which salesperson and which sales organization has the best ability to present a solution. Unfortunately, you probably aren’t hiring the sales organization to present a solution—you are hiring them to own and produce the business outcome that you need.
You aren’t hiring a salesperson.
An unfair process, one in which you selectively give preferential treatment to potential partners, giving them access to the stakeholders on your team and access to information, is a healthier sales process. You are hiring this salesperson and this sales organization to be part of your value chain, and that requires that you invest time and energy in the relationship.
Fairness has nothing to do with producing results and executing. Stack the deck in your favor by stacking the deck in favor of the partner that you really need.