A little over a year ago, Vic and I moved home, from one end of the country to the other. (American readers please note: this is not quite as challenging an undertaking in the UK as it would be in the US!). A day or two after we’d arrived, a leaflet popped through the door advertising a new Indian restaurant, opening that evening about five minutes walk from our new house. Not having unpacked our cooking utensils by this stage – and having already tired of takeaway pizza – we decided to try it out.
Not surprisingly, something had to change if the business was to stay afloat. In came new waiters, new paintings on the wall – but, thank goodness, the chef and the food stayed unchanged. And still the residents of our town stayed away in droves.
Finally, shortly before Christmas, the owners gave in to the inevitable, and closed their doors… only to re-open them again, a month or so later, having completely redesigned the place. A sophisticated new name, trendy furniture, the coolest crockery, a leather-bound menu that had clearly been designed and produced at huge expense. And… wait for it… exactly the same chef and exactly the same food. Yet the prices had increased drastically – by 25% or more.
Guess what happened? After a year of nigh-on solo dining, we now find that we can hardly get a table, so busy has the place become. They’re queuing out of the door; reservations are required; the owners have already doubled their capacity by refurbishing the upstairs floor.
And what’s this got to do with proposals? Well, the restaurant’s always had a great product at its heart – the food. That’s not changed. It’s just the way that they’ve presented the story that’s improved, to suddenly hit the ’sweet spot’ of so many local residents. And revenues and margins have increased dramatically. Spot the similarity? No matter how good your company’s products or services, if you don’t package them up in a way that appeals to your customers, you’re destined to fail – and when you get it right, the buyers will flock to choose you.