“It will serve you well to remind yourself every once in a while that it’s peace of mind that you are selling”
Marketing professionals often use the term ‘unique selling proposition’. Typically, it is one or two statements in length. For example, my tagline is: ‘Liberating people to create profit.’
This is not my value proposition, although there is value in the statement. Your value warrants more than a statement. Additionally, it needs to be concise and effective enough to garner others’ attention, keep their interest and confirm to them that they are on the right track.
I read an insightful article regarding the creation of a value proposition. The article quotes Investopedia’s statement that: ‘The ideal value proposition is concise and appeals to the customer’s strongest decision-making drivers. Companies pay a high price when customers lose sight of the company’s value proposition.’
The writers go on to say: ‘Thinking of a value proposition as a statement does more harm than good for consulting firms. With these definitions in mind, firms head down marketing messaging and communication paths that just aren’t helpful, leading to Quixotic and circuitous journeys by marketing and firm leaders to find a sentence or two that encapsulates value of the firm while at the same time is different from all competitors. They invariably end up with some pap about how they’re an experienced, client-focused, results-focused trusted partner, yadda yadda yadda.’
People buy feelings. When buying, their emotive drivers say they either need, want or would like to have what you offer. If your value proposition can help clients see, hear and feel what you truly bring to the table, then you are further along than someone who has a nebulous value proposition. If you are having trouble creating your value proposition, a good place to start is to ask some of your best clients why they value working with you. They may surprise you. Inevitably, their answers will always be tied to emotion. They might say something such as ‘I am comforted by your expert knowledge’
or ‘I can relax knowing that my affairs are being dealt with in such a professional manner’. It will serve you well to remind yourself every once in a while that it’s peace of mind that you are selling.
Imagine a time in your past when someone asked you, ‘What do you do?’ Did you quickly articulate what you do, highlighting the value you bring, or did your explanation get muddled in technical-speak?
If the latter, how does that help you help a client with their emotional buying decision? In my experience, the successful practitioners are those who can explain technical aspects in clear language that the client understand.
A well-formed value proposition is one tool to help you build loyalty over time so you don’t have to work as hard. It’s as much for your existing clients and contacts as new ones. The building and maintenance of your practice is a mechanical process – but it is you that makes the difference. It always comes down to the individual – not the firm. That is why success varies within a firm from person to person.
According to my mentor, ‘The litmus test for a good value proposition is that your mother can explain what you do to her neighbour.’
MODEL: value proposition = one + two + three
One: is the ‘emotional attractor’. Consider a recent purchase you made. Why did you buy that particular item in that articular colour from that particular salesperson? Did the salesperson have the feel-good factor? Did the item make you feel safe or successful, or look attractive? Clients are looking for service providers to give them comfort, security and peace of mind. Think about what you do that addresses these emotions. These are your emotional attractors.
Two: is ‘be distinctive’. There is a lot of choice out there. You need to paint a picture in their mind as to ‘WHY YOU’, not why you?’ Think of all the reasons you are di!erent to your competition. Use those positives that your clients have told you. Be discriminating and set yourself apart.
Three: is ‘prove it’. Buyers are skeptical these days, with high levels of mistrust. It is understandable, given that we are eight years into the financial crisis and past deeds in the financial industry are still coming to light. Demonstrate that you can deliver on your promises. Always be truthful, and provide evidence that you are good. The best proof statement is a referral from a happy client.
Value proposition is the total of one + two + three
Conceptually, your value is made up of several reasons why people want to buy from you. Use this model with thought and energy, and you are sure to have a winning value proposition.”
PAMELA PITCHER IS A BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT AT PAMELA PITCHER CONSULTING