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Do you PROBE when you’re selling?

I’ve been reading a great deal of research about what’s working in proposal-writing lately. One of the expressions I’ve found most funny – but most true – is that “RFP” (normally Request For Proposal) can mean “Real Fools Participate”, because unless you have some sort of relationship with the organization and the people issuing the proposal, the chance that your proposal -- sent in without personal contact – being a winner, approach zero! 

This idea came from the work of Steve Waterhouse. He continues by writing “RFP” should be considered a Request For Probing – an opportunity for you to start digging for information and relationships. 

Wait a minute, Steve! 

My reading of current sales research is that “probing” is an idea that has been taught in Sales Training for years – and that is dead as a doornail now! 

Think of it this way: NO ONE wants to be “probed”! (If I go to the doctor and he says something about “probing”, I am out of there – aren’t you?) So please don’t approach your prospects with the intent of “probing” them, or I think they’ll be running the other direction. 

Maybe you can think of an RFP as a “Request For Pursuit” – and with that attitude seek some human connections and more information.
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