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Strange reason to be shown the door

"To be frank, from the beginning, I have felt that we have been the one being interviewed in this RFP process and not Imaginary Landscape. "

I just received this today as a reason we were eliminated from consideration for a prospect opportunity. It would seem that, in this case, asking too many questions was a fatal flaw.

Could that really be the reason?

Perhaps it was the way we were asking questions that reflected poorly on us. Condescending? Demanding? I reviewed the correspondence and spoke with the account manager who lead the opportunity but found no evidence of anything but professionalism.

In fact, what I found was evidence that my staff is doing the exact right thing - asking questions, probing, determining if we are a good fit for the prospect and them for us.

Yes, we are absolutely the interviewers. We must determine if there is a fit. Do we offer the best solution to their needs? The RFP was pretty good, but still there was much left unanswered.

Each step along the way we asked questions. Questions about the RFP, questions about the organization, questions about the process. In this case, there was stiffening resistance to our questions, deferring to the next step in the process.

The next step was a 60 minute conference call where we were encouraged to demonstrate our content management system and "set yourself apart from the rest." At this point the field of vendors was "only" six.

We did not feel we had enough information about the environment or the specific needs of the prospect to properly demonstrate a solution. We could have taken a submissive role in the process and competed on a commodity level. However, that sets us up, not as a trusted partner, but just a subservient vendor. Not a good customer profile for us. So we said we would like the conference call to gain a better understanding of the opportunity (e.g. ask some more questions).

The email continues, "I no longer feel that you are a good fit for us and rather than waste anyone's valuable time, I think it is appropriate to part ways at this point."

No argument here.

Updated 07/14/10 @ 10:54AM CDT by brian

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