Browsing in the bookstore at Gatwick airport recently (ending up with Hillary Mantel’s truly magnificent, prize-winning ‘Wolf Hall’), I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation nearby between a mother and her young child.
“This book looks really interesting,” she said.
“But I want this one,” he replied, pointing to another choice.
“What about this one?”
“Don’t want it. I like this one.” Fixed on his original choice.
“Look! This is brand new.”
“But this one’s my favourite story.”
And at that, I had to smile. For the child had just echoed the thought process of so many potential customers when they start their evaluation process. If your sales colleagues haven’t already positioned your story with those who’ll read your proposal – if yours isn’t already the buyers’ ‘favourite story’ – then you’re facing an uphill (and potentially unwinnable) battle.
Now, some would use this as an excuse to treat proposal staff as underlings, as administrators. But to me, it’s the best argument of all as to why we proposal folks should be engaged as early as possible by our sales colleagues.