I had the misfortune to stay recently at a Holiday Inn in Germany that was an abject lesson in mediocrity. Despite the best efforts of the staff (whose English was thankfully far better than my very rusty German), everything about the place was just plain ordinary – dull, uninspired, dated. It was as if all of the right components were present – but with no flair, no imagination, no passion.
That in itself feels like a blog entry – in my previous sentence, I could just have been describing so many sales proposals. But that wasn’t actually what I wanted to discuss!
Weisse Schokoladen Ravioli Gefullt mit Rhabarber Und Weissem Portweineis.
So: there’s rhubarb. That’s guaranteed to prick my interest. (Want to sell Jon a dish in a restaurant? Put something on the menu with rhubarb, gooseberry or rabbit. Just not on the same plate!)
White chocolate, too? Wow! A clever ice cream? Hey, I spend hours experimenting with my ice cream maker at home, trying to create new fand often offbeat lavours. Presented in a format that sounded intriguing (’ravioli’ – how would that work, then?)
You can guess what it was like – a tragically-misguided, astoundingly inept waste of good ingredients. Truly, awesomely, astonishingly bad. And – here’s the thing – I was actually disappointed, as if the warning signs hadn’t all been screaming at me.
Now I’m not an inexperienced purchaser – in restaurants, as well as in the world of work. Yet I’d still gone ahead and placed the order. in spite of my suspicions that it was too good to be true, In spite of the fact that it was priced at about £5 – for which any European restaurant will struggle to do anything clever, but which kept the total cost of my meal within my customer’s rather parsimonious budget.
So maybe there’s hope for proposal folks working in companies whose solutions really aren’t market leading. Choose your words carefully; hit the customer’s hot buttons; pitch the offer at an attractive price – and you might just win. Hey, the customer will be disappointed, and won’t come back (I picked up a sandwich and a chocolate bar at the nearby station on the second night of my stay), but you’ll have won the business and pocketed the revenue.
Am I sounding cynical, perchance?