Scott Roy, CEO and Co-Founder, Whitten & Roy

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The Exceptional Sales Career
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Scott Roy is an absolute font of sales wisdom, and it didn’t take long for him to get to the meat and detail of his sales philosophies. The logical and concise way he describes things is compelling, as is the fact that he has chosen to sell his companies’ services in developing markets, rather than maximizing profits throughout his career.

I could have been listening to Scott’s wisdom for hours (I did try, as you’ll see below!), and feel fortunate to have been there for this hour-long interview. I’ve also read Scott’s book, Decision Intelligence Selling, which I highly recommend for its insight and actionability.

You can read Scott’s full biography here

Jamie: To begin with, what have you found the most fulfilling about your career in sales so far?

Scott: That’s a minor question while looking back at 43 years of work!


Scott: Probably the most fulfilling thing for me has been directly related to sales, in the sense that I chart my own course, I am responsible for my own destiny, and that’s both a blessing but sometimes a curse. Overall, it’s a blessing in the sense that I can decide where I want to be, what I want to do, and how I want to do it. That’s a very fulfilling feeling to me.  There are many other things but that’s number one. 

Jamie: How did you gain sales experience?

Scott:  I was a college student at Wake Forest University in my sophomore year, and my friend had been selling books the previous summer. I saw him in the cafeteria where we ate, early in September. Pretty soon we started talking about what we did over the summer, and it got around to, how much money we’d made. I’d saved about $1,500 which was a lot back in 1976. But Scott saved $4,500, and I said, “What? What were you doing? Was it legal?” I thought if he could sell books and make that much money so could I. So that’s how I got into selling.

Then going back to appreciating the freedom that sales offers, after 11 years of Southwestern – I was a student for five summers and then a district sales manager for six more – I left at age 30 and became a national sales manager for Capitol American Life Insurance Company of America. I was there for a just a short while when I came to realize that a salaried job was pretty awful. It was good money, six figures in the mid-eighties, but I said, “Screw this! I don’t want to work for someone else. I want to have the freedom, flexibility, and work for myself. So that’s how I started looking into building a new insurance company with three other execs from the same company who also wanted the freedom to own our own thing. But we needed access to big money – about $20m, so I went to meet with the only person I knew that would have that kind of money – Spencer Hays at Southwestern Company. It took about a year, but in November 1989 we founded Family Heritage Life Insurance Company of America.

Jamie: Can you speak a little about the relationship between sales and entrepreneurism?

Scott: Well, I think by nature, they have to be closely related because entrepreneurial ventures require selling an idea to investors or selling an idea to other people. You have to be creative in both, and you have to motivate yourself in both – no one can do it for you. In sales, you must build your own book of business and being an entrepreneur requires the same.  

Jamie: What fundamental basic skill sets, or starter kits, do you think people should have to want to go into sales? 

Scott: I think number one, you have to have discipline. I think you’ve got to know yourself well enough to trust yourself that you’re going to bring your best to it. You have to know that you’re going to keep at it, day by day, and work a consistent schedule. Otherwise, it’ll mostly be a disaster. You know, people get into sales because they believe they have the gift of gab or they have been told they can sell ice cubes to Eskimos or they want to make a lot of money. They should probably run away from selling if they can’t look at themselves in the mirror and say, “I trust that you’re going to do what’s necessary to do this.”

I think the second thing is really learning how to listen to people, and listen well – listening beyond just hearing what you need to hear. You must learn to listen to the degree that the person you’re listening to begins to understand himself and what his needs are. This is a very important distinction to understand.

I think the third thing probably is agility with one’s attitude, and ability to bounce back and deal with failure over and over again. I mean failing to make a sale as opposed to abject failure. It’s unlike someone who’s an accountant who has a set of rules and regulations, that’s how you calculate a spreadsheet or how you calculate taxes, where you can produce a successful product 100% of the time because you know how to do it. In selling, it’s not that way. In selling, you can do things absolutely perfectly and still only close one in three, or one in 10, or one in two but not 100%.

Jamie: Do you have any advice on how someone can go about learning to be a better listener? 

Scott: Yeah, the skill is what we call Precision Listening. That’s one of the things we teach many of our clients. A similar method is referred to as active listening. That’s where a person who’s selling listens to what a client is saying and then literally plays back much of what the clients has just said. So, it sounds like, “Aha, so what you’re saying is X, Y, and Z,” and then pause, and when you pause at the end of that, the person will just pick up from there and just keep on talking.

“Yes, as a matter of fact, the challenge as I see it is A and B.”

“I see, so you’re saying that the challenges are A and B. You know, it makes me think of something else as well…” and so it goes on from there. However, there are some key differences between Precision Listening and active listening, one of which is how to be in the present moment during the experience, and the other is in the way you take notes and use them. It’s actually laid out in our book in chapter eight. I would say however, that that with your purpose for listening this way is what unlocks the magic. You can either use it as a manipulative tool, or you can use it intentionally for listening closely so that you can really understand the other person’s point of view.

The latter is a far more powerful application of that skill. When we devised our system for selling, about 12 years ago, we didn’t create a set of tips and tricks. We think that way of learning is less effective because you need to know when to regurgitate them at the right time and in the right way. Instead, what we’ve done is created frameworks based out of both of our experiences. My business partner, Roy, and I have about 90 years of experience between us, his in human development and mine in sales.

From our combined experiences, we designed and developed a holistic sales framework and then developed the skills needed to run the framework. We have Competence skills for selling, Attitude skills to assure your mindset is in the right place and that when it slips you can restore it quickly, and Execution skills, which we refer to as ‘doing the right things at the right time with the right people.’ You might say our approach to excellence in selling is doing the right things at the right time with the right people in the right way with the right attitude. If any one of these ‘rights’ is a ‘wrong,’ you got a problem. 

Jamie: Could you expand on why you think that having a holistic system like that is so important as opposed to individual tips and tricks?

Scott: Well, tips and tricks are nice, like back when we learned how to sell books, you know, like I remember learning how to slide the pen down the order form. It’s a selling ‘trick.’ When I woke up to that, I started realizing it really was purely a manipulation. Selling often has a bad name to begin with, and it’s because of things like that. I decided one day that I didn’t want to do that or anything else like it anymore.

The second part are ‘tips’ – nothing wrong with knowing a lot of selling tips but it can become a rather large catalogue of knowledge, so large that it is hard for new people to remember everything and know when to regurgitate it all. We think a holistic framework, like DQ selling, simplifies it to where people can find their way through the selling process, knowing where they are at all times, and having specific skills that are part of the framework. And the DQ framework has a very purposeful context. 

Similar to IQ or EQ (academic intelligence or emotional intelligence), DQ means Decision Intelligence. We believe that the job of a professional salesperson is to help clients make the best possible buying decision for themselves or their families or for their businesses. The way you achieve this is by exploring two subjects: first, defining the problem and second, finding a solution to solve the problem. The first subject explores two topics: the problem and the cost of the problem if it isn’t solved. First, you must uncover and dig into the problem the client has so that they understand it at a much deeper level than they had previously. The term ‘problem’ means the same as issue, concern, worry, or challenge, etc. This is where Precision Listening comes in.

After the problem is well understood by the client, you lead them to estimate the cost of the problem in terms of time wasted, money, efficiency, sales, productivity, etc. It is best to monetize the problem because once a client understands it in money terms, then it clarify immediately if the problem is worth solving. If the answer is no, then that’s the end of the conversation. Why would you waste your time and theirs pitching a solution to a problem not worth solving, from the client’s perspective? This helps you to “fail fast” and move on to other prospects who have problems worth solving.

If the problem is worth solving, then you take on the second subject, the solution, which is  matching your service or product to the problems and needs you’ve already uncovered. Finally, you estimate the value of the solution, in monetary terms, so the client can see if your solution is worth it.

If that number is large enough to satisfy the client, you probably have a deal, even if the client has to reach deeply into their pockets or find money elsewhere in order to pay for it. It’s selling by establishing a business case, which we apply across all our sales transformation projects, whether it is a major global corporation in London that does complex, multi-year contracts that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars or a small social enterprise selling solar lighting to the masses in Kenya. Following this methodology delivers amazing sales results.

When our large corporate clients adopt DQ Sales® they typically notice several things – deals get larger, they move faster, and there is more certainty that they will close. When we apply it to social enterprises in the developing world, we see the same kind of impact – bigger, faster, and more certain sales – it’s just that you can apply all four steps of DQ in 20-30 minutes because the sale is quite simple in structure. We’ve applied this selling approach in about 300 projects in the developing world and about 100 projects in the commercial sector that have yielded amazing results over the past 12 years. 

DQ selling takes more time on the front-end of the sales conversation but it saves more time when you go from solution to closing. I often tell our clients that if you want to be really good at selling, slow down in the beginning of the sales process and do the first two stages thoroughly. You’ll speed up during the final two stages because the customer feels a sense of urgency.

Most salespeople move much too quickly into pitching their solutions before helping the client really define the problems they need to solve and what the problems are costing them.  These sellers pay the price when many of their deals shrink in size, stall, or fail to close because of objections, bringing on stakeholders late in the game, and other barriers because they haven’t built the right kind of relationship and trust with the client.

So that’s what I mean by a framework instead of tips and tricks. Framework means the selling strategy, and then selling skills hang on the framework. 

Jamie: Some of the salespeople who I work with would feel intimidated by getting to that level of quantification, with something which is difficult to quantify. Do you have any advice on how you go about getting to that dollar figure?

Scott: I was doing this the other day with a client. We sell in a complex environment; we’re not selling something that is going to be sold in one sitting and we don’t want to sell it one sitting, for God sakes, because people would be just buying our “legend” and not very intelligently. And many of our clients have a strong social mission that isn’t easily quantified, at least at first blush.

First of all, I think it depends on the kind of relationship you are building with the client and then I think the second thing is making an initial sale about the way that you’re going to go about selling to them. We’re up front with our clients and tell them, “Here’s how our selling process works: we want to explore the challenges you’re facing so that both of us will understand a lot more about them and how to address them. Then all of our clients appreciate taking a bit of time to estimate what your particular problems are costing you just to make sure that it makes sense to proceed with solving them. Does that make sense? We’ll be building a business case for whether or not we should work together.” We help them understand our selling process that we are undertaking with them right up front so that it won’t be a surprise when we move into the cost calculation. 

You’re absolutely right though – very, very few salespeople take their client through what we call a ‘back of the envelope estimate’ – because they feel intimidated or think their client won’t want to do it. The truth is, if they don’t do it, there is no comparison point for the price the salesperson wants to charge for their solution. The client is simply left on their own trying to decide if the price is too high or not. This is especially important for value sellers, because there may be discount players angling for the business as well.

Sometimes you sense that a client might be hesitant to share that information with you, either because they hold it as confidential or they’re afraid you’ll adjust your price according to the cost of their problem. I’d say to them, “Janet, it’s time to talk about what this problem is costing you.  You can share it with me or you can keep it to yourself – it’s not necessary for me to know what that number is. But it is really important for you to know because if the cost of your problem is not big enough, then, we should stop talking because the problem is not worth solving.”

We’ve actually found clients who are very enthusiastic about coming in and just telling us what the cost of the problem is. But we also have some who are hesitant about doing that – either they’ve even stated that or we’ve sensed it, and then we’ll offer the option of keeping it to themselves. One client told us the cost was $6-7m per annum. In the next meeting he came back and said it was actually higher, north of $9m. His sense of urgency to buy went through the roof. Totalling up services we sold to him at two different companies, plus the referrals he’s given us, we’ve landed contracts of more than $1.5m.

One of our clients, a private investment firm in the US, is an example. My business partner asked them to go away and estimate the cost of the problem and at the next video call he asked, “Did you calculate the number?”  The client said, “Yes.” But then Roy saw the client’s eyes drop down to the paper in front of him and he sensed hesitation. So he said to the prospect, “Listen, John, you don’t even need to tell me what the number is, but the important thing is when you look at that number, is it big enough that it’s worth solving?”

Relief washed across his face because he thought Roy was benchmarking the number to peg our fees to it. The client offered up, “Absolutely, it’s huge.” Roy replied, “So it sounds like we need to talk about what a solution could look like,” to which the client agreed. We have now done several large pieces of work with that client.

Getting the cost of the problem is a game changer, so regardless of how uncomfortable the salesperson might feel, do it.

Jamie:  In terms of the way that you train people to have the confidence to ask that question, what advice do you give them? 

Scott: Most of it is attitude of the salesperson. It boils down to your purpose for doing it – it is a great service to the client because it creates clarity, seriousness, and urgency to address the problem and solve it.  It is also the one skill that many salespeople feel awkward doing, so many don’t do it. But it is a huge mistake not to do it because deals without a cost of problem number tend to languish in the pipeline. Establishing a cost of the problem creates urgency and momentum in the sales process, which is what gets deals to move at pace.

When I’m presenting this to the client, it’s a draft format that summarizes what we’ve had conversations about over several meetings to understand the problems at depth. I present back what I’ve heard the client say, and then proceed into a collaborative cost calculation.  I always start with the qualitative costs, such as morale, personal brand, confidence, or customer satisfaction, etc. All of these can be monetized, but that’s the next step.

I’ll say something like, “When you see this list of problems, John, what are some of the qualitative costs?” Then, while a person is disclosing the qualitative impacts, it naturally leads right into the quantitative cost.

I’ll say, “It’s like when you think about a low Net Promoter Score, what is the probable cost to your business?” Then you work through each qualitative cost and establish a range of monetary cost. It’s a very natural segue from qualitative to quantitative. 

Jamie: Please can I get an idea of your relative success levels where you’re able to get to that quantified metric, versus not?

Scott: Creating urgency by monetizing the cost of the problem is critical to great selling. When you do it, you help your prospects get serious about taking action (or the potential costs of not taking action). Once the number has been established, we have experienced very high close rates where there is a solid business case. We close about three in four sales conversations, which is pretty high. The cost of the problem is what drives the speed and certainty of the sale. And this goes for our clients too, since we are teaching them how to sell like we sell. Talk about one thing that will sort out your pipeline in a hurry!

This goes back to the purpose for DQ Sales®, which is to help a client make the best possible decision. This has to come from within them, not from us trying to entice them when they’re undecided. After we have plumbed the depths of a problem, clients learn things they did not know before which tends to stimulate greater concern. When that happens, the cost of the problem clarifies their thinking about whether the problem is worth solving. It gives the client confidence to decide, definitively. Once that happens, your sale has ‘rocket fuel.’ And, most importantly, this all happens before any solution is laid out or pitched. For us, because of what we sell, it could be 3-6 sales meetings just focusing on the problem and cost of problem. 

You can imagine the kind of trust that is built and established between the buyer and the seller in this process. We rarely find anyone selling this way because it takes an enormous amount of discipline to stay on the problem and then cost it. Salespeople who look for the problem to be solved usually are only learning this for the purpose of knowing how to position their solution and not building the client’s Decision Intelligence. When you sell in this way, you are the competition, and you’re at the top of the game of selling.

Importantly, this approach to selling can be scaled up or down, according to the complexity of the sale, whether it takes 20 months or 20 minutes.

Jamie:  Scott, when you employ people for your company, what characteristics are you looking for? 

Scott: I always hire for attitude. I can teach them what they need to succeed. I hire for attitude always and no question about that.  I’ve hired over 2,000 salespeople in my career so I’ve learned about what it takes to succeed.

Jamie: How do you test for attitude?

Scott: Certainly, it’s not just in the interview; how a person presents himself in the interview because there’s no pressure on them other than the pressure of feeling worried that I’m not going to hire them. I’ll look at body language, posture, and eye contact, etc., thinking to myself, do I see this person representing my company? Do I see them learning what they need to learn? Do they strike me as a person who is eager to learn? This curiosity is what drives my line of questions and perceptions.

I’ll ask questions about different scenarios in selling or in work that would parallel selling that indicates how a person has dealt with different situations before. So, once I lay out a scenario, like a what-if scenario, then I can understand a lot more about how this person thinks. But quite frankly, I look more to psychometrics to then open up a conversation that tends to reveal attitude a lot more. 

Jamie: What kind of psychometric testing do you use?

Scott: I use one called the MRA. This is a very tried and true test that Southwestern used for its management. It’s been around for about 70 years. I became certified as an MRA associate in 1992. The one thing about the MRA and for that matter, any psychometric, is that it does not predict success for salespeople. There are too many variables that determine success in sales.

But what it can do is let you know the kind of person you have, the way they approach the work and their workstyle preferences. The MRA defines whether or not they need be closely supervised, their degree of independence, their general confidence to make decisions, whether they seek shelter behind others, etc. There are 26 profiles that emerge from the MRA and any one of them can sell, but some sell better than others, depending upon what the role requires.

Different sales roles require different profiles. Sitting at a desk all day receiving inbound phone calls requires a different make up than a person given a raw territory and told to work on their own. Account management requires a different make up than a salesperson who is simply acquiring new customers.  Therefore, it is very important to write job descriptions with clarity to define the role well and then match the traits from MRA to what the job requires.

MRA lets you know what conditions are needed for each distinct profile to be at their best when they’re selling and whether you have a management system and managers that would support different styles. That’s where the advantage lies. You’re bringing science to the art of recruiting.

Jamie: Great. So you’d recommend that any business use an MRA test for hiring? Is that sales-specific or would you recommend it, in general?

Scott: It’s geared for sales, but it can be used just as well for other hires and positions as well. But the descriptions of various characteristics are couched in sales language. It’s not as simple as having the candidate take the psychometric and reading a report. You need to have somebody teach you how to use it and apply it to your business. It’s not just for hiring, but also for managing and bringing the best out in each individual employee. The question for the hiring manager is whether or not you can adapt your style to be supportive of the way a certain profile works best, or should you keep looking to find a candidate who matches your style of management? You can do it either way. If the candidate and your company are like chalk and cheese, you’re best not hiring them.

Jamie: Would you recommend the individuals take these tests themselves?

Scott: They can do that, but they would need to contact an MRA rep to do the profiling. Then, from that point, it would be helpful to have a coach work with them to develop certain aspects they want to improve upon. A person like this would be characterized as being self-aware or growth-oriented and would really benefit from seeking that kind of guidance from somebody to help them understand themselves better. I could certainly see that.

Jamie: In general, what advice would you give to aspiring sales people?

Scott: I think one thing I would do is that I would definitely get with a company that sells something you believe in. I think that’s been a great success for me over the years to have always sold a product or service that I truly believe in. I just had a sales meeting this morning with a woman here in Nairobi and she asked me, “Why are you doing this rather than working in London where you could make a lot more money?”

I said, “I’m 62 years old. I want to do something that makes a difference and I know what we do makes a huge difference in people’s lives, both buyers and sellers. If we can teach 50 to 100 organizations a year how to be great at selling, they’re going make a pretty good size dent in issues around poverty and I’m really satisfied by that.” 

However, it doesn’t have to be a mission-driven product or service like we have, but it’s something you have to really believe in. For example, if you’re selling software as a service, I think you’re far better off if you believe very strongly in what the software you’re selling does, right?

I think that’s definitely one. Number two, I would say, really get to grips with variable pay and embrace it. If you’re going to get into sales, get into something where you’re going to get paid well, which means, you’re going to take some risk on yourself with a lower base salary and more variable pay, which means the greater the opportunity there is.

I would definitely advise somebody to get into sales to provide a service, make money and commit to give it your best. It’s a really hard job but that’s why I love it. You work around the fringes. You work after hours. When you go to bed at night, you’re thinking about your clients because in a sense, you own your own book of business even though you may not be the person who owns the business. You are the captain of your ship and you guide your own destiny, so you have to get comfortable with that. As long as you’re taking on such responsibility, you might as well get paid well for it. That sort of mentality is what’s going to be needed. 

I think probably the third thing I would say is go into selling with an open mind and a willingness to learn. This goes back to what Southwestern taught me: work hard, study hard, and be teachable. Go in with the willingness to learn and things usually work out. I’ve been in sales and sales leadership for more than 40 years and I’m still learning and I’m supposed to be an expert at it! [laughs]

Jamie: What training courses, advice, books, etc, would you advise an aspiring salesperson go and seek out?

Scott: Well, hopefully the company that a salesperson is joining has a decent sales training program. It’s hard to assess that ahead of time though.

Certainly, larger companies should have pretty good sales training, but sadly, many do not. Fundamentally, it gets down to you and your ability to take what you’ve been trained and then personalize it to use it in a way that actually works. More important than anything though is the person’s attitude. People with stamina, courage, and a strong will to serve tend to do well in sales. They will figure things out along the way even if they haven’t been trained well. You can do everything perfectly right and still not make the sale, so you’ve got to be the kind of person who just keeps on persisting until you succeed. Attitude, above and beyond anything else, will determine your success in sales.

Beyond getting into the field and knocking on doors, I think reading is the best way to becoming great at learning how to manage one’s attitude and sell well. There are many titles, but I think it depends on what arena you’re playing in, right? If you’re in Business or Consumer sales, so much of your success is a personal connection between you and the people you’re selling to. Books like “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” cheesy and corny as the title may sound, speaks to the heart of a champion and the attitudinal side of being really tough-minded about selling. I think that is just a classic that you just can’t go wrong with. 

In B2B selling, I would say either Consultative Selling by Mack Hanan or Mastering the Art of the Complex Sale, by Jeff Thull are really outstanding books, as is SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. Each of these fits well with our approach to selling.  But, of course, I think our book is pretty darned good – Decision Intelligence Selling is available on Amazon.

I would also listen to various podcasts or video every day, or if you like to read, read something every day, like a chapter a day to get your mind and determination set. The Common Denominator of Success is such a great quick read, just a few pages long. You’ll find it quickly with a web search, and it’s free. Feed your mind every day with something related to sales. No matter how you like to do it, just feed it.

Jamie: Scott, if you had your sales career again, what would you do differently?

Scott: What would I’ve done differently? Well, I’m still in it [laughter]. I mean business is still on the go. I tell you what, after five years of selling door to door, I got kind of bored with it, you know? It’s just doing the same thing over and over again. I was one of the better salespeople, like what we used to call the top 20 or top 30 at Southwestern.  I began recruiting in my second year, but I really took it seriously in my third, fourth, and fifth year. It was only through that experience that I really stayed in selling, because I really enjoyed recruiting, training, and managing other people.

Learning how to do it though was really challenging. At first, I was a horrible manager. I lost everybody I recruited during my first year except for two guys out of 10 people. They quit and went home because I was just awful as a manager, mostly because I lacked the patience and commitment to develop them. Very few people who are really good salespeople tend to naturally be good sales managers at first. They need to learn a new set of skills, so it’s an admonition for anybody who thinks that sales management is going to be the panacea for the difficult life that they have as a salesperson. It’s not true. Many companies make the fundamental mistake of promoting good salespeople to sales management, assuming that they should be able to lead and develop other salespeople. It’s a different mindset and it requires different skills. I’m fortunate because I was able to make the turn with guidance from my manager and I actually learned how to be a good sales manager.

So, to answer your question, I would say that returning to a career of selling back 11 years ago when we started Whitten & Roy Partnership has really been an enjoyable experience largely because of the nature of the complex sale. I absolutely love doing it. I no longer have that nervousness I used to feel each morning starting on zero and having to produce something that day. Now, I have a strong sense of confidence in working a system that requires a series of conversations, each of which leads to a higher probability of making the sale, even if it takes several months. Now, I work through the framework of the complex sale and never feel surprised with the client saying, “yes,” because it’s just natural. I expect it.

If I really were to do it over again, I would have gotten into complex B2B selling much earlier.

Jamie: Could you expand on what you see is the real benefit of complex versus simple selling?

Scott: Oh, it’s just the challenge of it, you know? You’re selling something that’s $500,000 or a million or $20 million – whatever it is. I get a real high from helping people pick through complex situations, because it’s not only complex for the salesperson but also for the company you’re selling to. There are so many different variables: multiple departments, different leadership personalities, big money, geographic spread, different languages, competitors, and the change management that will be required, etc.

Picking your way through the complexity of it is what is daunting for both the buyer and seller. Then, if you can make it simpler for the buyer to find their way through it you have a strong advantage over any other competitor. We firmly believe that most buyers buy poorly. They buy fairly blindly. It’s the buying processes like procurement which are really faulty. 

The RFP process is an awful process because another party has done some sort of research and due diligence on the problem to be solved and they see things differently than we do. Therefore, the requirements in the RFP are usually different from what we would have come up with. The chances for project failure or applying an inefficient solution are significant.

It’s really a crap process, quite frankly. We teach salespeople – don’t engage with it unless one of the two things are decided. One, your company did the research that the RFP is based upon. You have a high chance of winning that bid and a high degree of certainty that you will deliver it to spec and brilliantly. Or two, someone else did the research, but you ask for and are granted access to the people that have the problem upon which the RFP is based. In this case, you are able to learn about the problems first-hand, engage with the client personally, and challenge the thinking in the RFP if warranted. It gives you an inside track to understand if you can actually deliver what they want and if it’s worth your time and effort to submit a proposal.

If you do play the RFP game the way the client sets it up, be forewarned. There is a very slim chance of winning an RFP that comes from someone else’s research and selling efforts. They have the inside track and usually are simply engaging in the formal process to win the business. If by chance, you win someone else’s RFP, they tend to be the hardest projects to run and deliver to achieve high client satisfaction.

If you want more information on how to deal with RFPs, go to our website: and look up the article we wrote last year entitled R.I.P for the RFP. You’ll find it in our Media Room.

Jamie: So when you say not engage…

Scott: That’s a whole another hour of long conversation. [laughs]


Feel free to connect with Scott on LinkedIn. Purchase the new book he co-authored Decision Intelligence Selling: Transform the Way Your People Sell.

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