What is a monkey story?
A "monkey story" is an expression we use to describe a fabricated, untrue or exaggerated story that is presented as the truth or fact. Sandwich monkey stories are usually sensational, sensational or bizarre. The concept of a monkey story occurs worldwide and is characterized by its rapid spread because people often like to share interesting, crazy or shocking stories. Social media is chock full of it. Now better known as hoaxes. They range from harmless and funny to harmful and misleading, such as false health advice or conspiracy theories. And yes, monkey stories also appear in proposals. That's what this blog is about.
Urban legends in proposals
In a proposal you want to convince a customer and win over them, so you do everything you can to achieve that. All in all? Yes, but without losing sight of reality. Sandwich stories in proposals are usually strong statements or unrealistic promises. You will immediately recognize some because they are too funny: "We will give you the gift voucher for the hairdresser for free, because our productivity software is so good that it will even make your hair grow.” Or, in the context of vitality in the workplace: "Thanks to the automatic snack recognition, the refrigerators open exclusively for healthy snacks." Ha ha, Reminds me of organizations that want to mislead you on social media with a semi-believable April Fool's joke!
However, there are also claims and promises that could be quite credible at first glance. A few examples:
- the proposal states extremely lower prices, much lower than those of the competition (this is usually also stated) and often without clear substantiation;
- mega fast delivery times;
- listing the great qualities of products without evidence (think indestructible or unique);
- listing the benefits or savings of certain services without (too much) evidence;
- offering extended warranties without clear terms or supporting documentation.
Monkey stories in proposals are more harmful than you think
The use of monkey tactics in proposals may produce occasional success, but in the long term it is downright harmful. Exaggerated and incorrect statements and/or claims that are presented as the truth lead to reputational damage. Companies that use monkey stories in their proposals or sales process can count on distrust that is not easily overcome.
No trust is a hard deal breaker and... it spreads like wildfire. Moreover, the monkey stories are often persistent. Companies warn other companies to protect them from unreliable collaborations. You can suffer from it for years. Building trust is slow, but losing it is very fast.
Do you regularly make proposals? Then, no matter how tempting it can sometimes be, stay as far away from those monkey stories as possible, I would say.
Testimonials describe what has been, and are a promise of what is to come - Ron Kaufman
It is therefore much better to:
- substantiate and support your claims, assertions and promises with facts, figures or references; you show why your product or service is worthwhile;
- to remain realistic and be honest about your boundaries;
- to be clear about guarantees, agreements and to offer these to the customer together with clear conditions and documentation;
- adding references, testimonials and reviews, because these types of customer stories do add value.
Trust is also a valuable asset in the business world. In the long term, this ensures loyal customers and a strong reputation.