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Lynn McInturf Associates Incorporated | Cincinnati, OH

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Gwen's closing rate wasn't looking good; she had missed quota for three consecutive quarters. She asked her manager Eileen for a little help in figuring out what she could do to improve. Among the questions Eileen asked during their one-on-one meeting was this one: "Can I take a look at your proposals?"

The answer was "Yes." After the coaching session, Gwen quickly passed along all the proposals she had put together over the past ninety days. What Eileen saw gave her pause.

Gwen's proposals were dense, long, and, for long stretches, virtually impossible for someone who wasn't an expert to understand. They were loaded with technical details that Eileen felt sure Gwen's prospects didn't need and hadn't asked for, and they each included so many product options and service plans that Eileen wondered how Gwen's prospective buyers could even understand what she wanted them to do next.

Eileen said, "I have some ideas I'd like to share with you before you put together your next proposal. How would you feel about working on the next offer together?" Gwen, grateful for help, said that would be fine with her.



The relationship-status label "it's complicated" may be popular online . . . but these words should never drive the offer you pass along to a prospective buyer.

Too many salespeople over-complicate their offers. This occurs primarily for one of two reasons. Some salespeople convince themselves that they must present complex solutions in order to establish intrinsic value. They believe that the greater the number of elements included in the offer, the greater its perceived effectiveness will be ... and the more readily it will be accepted by the prospect. Usually, the opposite is true: a complex, multi-tiered offer is more likely to be perceived as requiring close review from the prospect's side to make sure everything is in order, and thus more likely to result in a "think-it-over" stall.

Other salespeople over-complicate their offers to establish financial value. They're insecure about what they're charging and are looking for ways to justify the price tag they've attached to their recommendations. As a result, they include a number of "value added" elements which may be helpful, but which are not essential to addressing the prospect's needs - and which sometimes haven't even been discussed with the buyer.

These "value adds" are included for no other reason than to bolster the perceived value of the offer . . . and thereby substantiate the required investment. Usually, they don't.

Gwen, unfortunately, was routinely making both of these mistakes. What she failed to recognize (until her conversations with Eileen) is that prospects appreciate elegant solutions.

Elegant solutions are well-ordered, simple, and concise.

Elegant solutions make it easy for prospects to connect your product or service to the outcomes they are after. The easier you make it for them to establish that connection, the more likely you are to make the sale.



With Eileen's help, Gwen began creating solutions that were less complicated, more elegant, and centered on the solutions she had actually discussed with her prospects.

Not only that, Gwen began withholding her proposals until she was certain about the pain the prospect was experiencing, her firm's ability and willingness to alleviate that pain, the budget available for making that pain go away, and the decision process for allocating that budget. As a result, her proposals were briefer, more direct, and more focused on the key issues she had discussed with her prospects. Her closing ratio improved ... and she found that, in some cases, she didn't even need to deliver a proposal in order for the prospect to say "Yes"! 

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