Hack Number 2 – Using Value Propositions To Make Great Sales
by David Powell, Regional Director – Yorkshire & North East England
Hello – and hello again if you are returning to learn more about some great sales hacks for 2022. This is number 2 of 10 and today I am focusing on the Value Proposition. If you create great Value Propositions and use them intelligently and diligently – you will sell more and sell better. The time is right for really understanding the benefits of focusing on your customer’s own perception of value – not just your perceptions. This year is looking like a real business challenge – prices are rising faster than wages, fuel costs are astronomical, and people are starting to feel poorer. Value is always critical in business but right now I think that defining it in terms of your customer requirements is the most significant step you can take.
Older readers will remember the USP. Perhaps some of you are still using one – or trying to capture one for your business. Good luck. The USP or Unique Selling Proposition is a very endangered species. A unique selling proposition is, by definition, a singular idea that is intended to encapsulate the entire value of what you offer and one that applies to any customer at any time. Because it is unique, no one else has got it and of course, it is meant to be highly effective. A silver bullet in other words. But unless you are successfully farming Unicorns or extracting pure gold from flames, I’m afraid you don’t have a USP. For most of us, most of the time there is intense competition, and it is often very effective.
Also questionable and possibly outdated (happy to argue this one) is the “Elevator Pitch”. The idea is you have 30 seconds or less in which to sell either yourself or your business. As with the USP, it’s all about me, me, me. It’s not really surprising that buyers disconnect from this type of selling. After all, they’re not included – they are just having to listen to you sharing your opinions. Unless you have taken some considerable pains to understand the problems they have but don’t want, and/or the results that they want but don’t have, then you are in no position to show how your offer can deliver transformation for them. To be brutal about it, your offer has no inherent value except the value that the buyer attaches to it. The Value Proposition is a summary not of what you think is great about your product (USP/Elevator Pitch), it is a summary of how effectively your product transforms outcomes for the buyer and their business.
So, a Value Proposition is “a clear statement that encapsulates the tangible value a company promises to deliver to a customer should they buy their product”. Perhaps this doesn’t sound so different from a USP – but the difference is in fact huge. The Value Proposition is really a summary of all you know about your buyer, their business, and what key things make the real difference for them. So, you will need to work hard, speak only to ask the right questions, or offer insights that get to the heart of the issue and then listen very carefully to the answers. Avoid selling too soon. You will also need to customize and refine your proposition depending on who you are talking to in the customer business. A CFO will have a slightly different set of priorities than a CEO or buyer. The proposition should reflect these differences.
A well-crafted Value Proposition is the gift that just keeps on giving because it summarises what your customer requires. Work hard on the construction – a good Value Proposition will focus on what matters most to your customer, it will focus on unresolved pain (or an unachieved goal), it will align with your customer’s measure of success (good metrics are really important), it will enable your customer to visualize a better future or outcome and of course, it will differentiate you from your competition.
A Value Proposition is in fact (and somewhat ironically) the ultimate USP because it is by nature unique to the customer and their real requirements. It is bespoke, custom-built, made-to-measure, and delivers true value. Please watch and listen to my colleague Glen in the attached webinar and understand more about how harnessing the power of the Value Proposition can transform your business by transforming your customer’s business.
I hope this has provoked some thoughts and ideas that you can incorporate into your selling process. If it has, I would be delighted to hear from you. My email is email@example.com and my mobile is 07813131923. Again, I urge you to watch the recording of Glen’s excellent webinar on these issues below. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and good luck!