The public accounting marketplace has become an increasingly competitive marketplace. You want to easily win more proposals, but decision-makers are savvy purchasers. No longer do they just talk to one firm; they often talk to multiple firms. Whether you were referred to an opportunity through your network or the prospect found you through the fantastic interweb, we have 6 tips to help you be more successful with every swing at the plate.
Research the company and industry
Google the prospective company to learn as much about them before you meet with them. Don’t go in and ask what they do – that’s the kiss of death. Instead, confirm what you learned from your research. It will impress them, show them that you did your homework, and put you in a position to have a meaningful discussion about their organization or business. Consider pulling an industry report to learn more about the key challenges facing their industry. This exercise can also help you generate a list of target questions.
Identify relationship connections
Next, look them up on LinkedIn. Look for how you or someone in your firm might be connected to decision-makers in their organization. We all recognize the importance of relationships in business; in fact, the very existence of a relationship can often be the tipping point. Bottom line, a common connection can help in any RFP situation.
Listen first, promote second
When you have the chance to meet with your prospect, learn as much as you can about their situation. Don’t start by telling them who you are and why you’re so great. Instead, take the time to understand them and learn why they are looking for a new firm.
Customize your proposal
If you asked insightful, probing, open-ended questions and listened well, you will have a great foundation for a customized your proposal. Include the information you captured in your meeting, specifically identifying both what they need and want out of a new accounting firm relationship.
This should go without saying, but prompt follow-up is critical. Timeliness shows that you care and want their business. Go the extra mile and send thank-you notes to the people involved. Let them know you appreciate inclusion in their scoping process.
Present your proposal
If and when you get the opportunity to present your plan, DO NOT simply regurgitate your proposal. Everyone in the room can read. Instead, focus on getting to know the people in the room and have a conversation about what is important to their organization. The best way to do this is to start a dialogue about what is meaningful to them.
These are just a few tips to help you win more proposals. While your record may not be a 100% win rate, these pointers will make you more competitive and generate an increased number of hits when you’re swinging the bat.