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Protecting yourself while column fodder – John Greathouse

John Greathouse’s latest post, Private Means Private or How To Avoid Dropping Trou, has some excellent points about, among other things, never providing sensitive confidential information to a prospect — especially when it appears that you’re just column fodder, as is often the case when responding to an RFP. Excerpt:

Several years ago, I was pitching a software license to a middle level executive at HP, within their Printer Group, via GoToMeeting. It was clear that he was a corporate zero and was simply sleepwalking through the process. At the end of the call, he requested that we “send him the slides and a proposal”.

I shocked him (and my salesperson who was also on the call) by telling the HP Zombie, “No, we are not going to send you the slides and we are not going to pull together a proposal that is just going to be filed away. If you are ready to move forward, then we are prepared to apply one-hundred percent of our resources to make you successful. However, if you just want something to throw in a file so you can later document that you spoke with us, we are not interested.”

After a long pause, the HP guy came out of his corporate coma and acknowledged our position. He agreed that simply sending over a proposal at this point probably was not the most impactful next step. We continued our dialog over the next several months, and we eventually closed a significant, multi-year deal with HP. Chalk one up for the Smart Little Company.

Read it all.

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