The ability and willingness to tailor custom solutions will always lead to more closed sales.

For anyone who has worked as a sales rep in a large corporate setting, there is a very familiar feeling of frustration that comes from the lack of flexibility in creating a customized product offering. Especially in today's world, where "Solution selling" has become the norm, the prospective client expects a solution that is customized to fit the unique needs of their organization. However, most sales reps are confined by managerial dictates which draw red lines around the package they want you to sell, rather than giving reps the freedom to pursue creative product offerings that meet the prospective client's circumstances.

For the frustrated sales rep who may be reading this post, it is important to understand that these restrictions are not arbitrary. In any negotiation, there are very precisely measured risk elements which must be respected in order to ensure that the product offering will result in a profitable outcome for the company. After all, if you were to overly customize a product offering just to close the deal, there is a possibility that the variable costs associated with that customization would lead to a net-loss for the firm. This is why most sales managers tend to restrict the level of customization that they will permit in a product offering.

While I respect the fact that closing sales is only desirable if both parties (the selling firm and the client) are able to achieve a profitable outcome, I disagree with the reluctance towards customization that many sales managers embrace. Again, it is the role of the modern sales rep to offer a solution, not a product. To offer a solution inherently requires a high degree of customization.

Many clients are willing to pay a higher price for a truly customized solution that actually addresses the unique concerns of their organization. Your prospective clients aren't trying to find a product that they can mold their company around, they are trying to find a product that can mold around their company. And take my word for it, they truly are willing to pay a premium for this type of a solution. This extra margin can be used to justify the additional risk that comes from customizing a product offering.

Furthermore, as this process is repeated, the sales organization gains valuable, data-based insights as to the specific problems that each client is attempting to solve with your product. This data can be used to provide insight into the future developments that you should incorporate into your product offering. Whereas research and development expenses are typically very high for any organization, customized sales solutions (where the client has greater control over the product offering) can provide free research and development insights. This represents an additional reason why sales reps should be granted a higher degree of freedom when it comes to offering fully customized solutions.

Ultimately, the added financial risk that comes along with offering highly customized product solutions is offset by the higher overall volume of closed deals and the subsequent reduction in R&D expenses that comes from entertaining these client based insights. Sales Reps should be encouraged to ask open ended questions and specialize according to industry, so that they can better understand and solve the unique needs of each potential client.