Value money

How compelling is your value proposition?

17th Jan 2017

‘Why should I buy from you?’

This is a question that every business leader, business owner, and entrepreneur must ask every day across their entire customer lifecycle: starting with customer acquisition, through maximisation, and finally retention.

Why? Because in a fiercely competitive world, your competition is trying to poach your customers; competitors that you could know well, new entrants appearing from nowhere, and old rivals who suddenly seem to have got their act together and are on the offensive. It is ultra-competitive, and complacency is not an option.

Having a good product or service won’t cut it. You’ve got to have a great product and service. Educating your potential, new, and existing customers about your products and services must be an integral part of your compelling value proposition (CVP), making you stand out from the crowd and contributing to your distinct competitive advantage.

So . . . how compelling is your compelling value proposition?

Whether you’re a business leader, business owner, entrepreneur, in sales, customer service, or management, you’re probably passionate about what you do. You’re enthusiastic about your products and services, you believe they’re better than your competitors’ and understandably want to tell as many people as possible about them; how your food is tastier, how your clothes are more fashionable, or how your software has more and better functions.

The challenge when communicating in this style is that the features or advantages of the product are most prominent. The core message is centred on your view of your products, which may not always reflect your customer’s view or motivations. When communicating your products and services in this tone, your customers often hear: ‘This is what I sell, and this is a list of reasons why I think you should buy it.’

What your customers want to hear is a clear statement that demonstrates that you understand their situation and their needs. They want to know that you recognise the challenge they wish to solve, or the outcome they wish to achieve, and they want to hear how you are going to help them address that situation. Ideally, your CVP will not only explain how owning your product or using your service will help them achieve a desired outcome; it will also explain why your business is uniquely positioned to create that outcome.

Ideally, your CVP will not only explain how owning your product or using your service will help them achieve a desired outcome; it will also explain why your business is uniquely positioned to create that outcome.

Customers not only want to know ‘Why should I buy from you?’ but also ‘What’s in it for me?’. One of most important guiding principles for creating a compelling, customer-focused value proposition is that it focuses on your customer’s needs, not on the features of the product or service.

Do not explain the product or service that you are selling, or embellish its features. Instead, detail the benefits to the customer of owning your product or using your service. This is one of the biggest mistakes that organisations make. Not only do business leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals throughout the organisation fall into the trap of building their product and service offerings inside out, as opposed to outside in – build based on the perceptions the organisation holds, as opposed to researched customer wants and needs – they also fall into the trap of explaining it in the style of the internal audience.

It happens all the time, and it completely defeats the primary object of communicating with the customer. If your customers don’t understand immediately what you’re saying, they start to check out and all you’re faced with is another opportunity missed. If you were a fly on the wall in the sales leader’s office after a salesperson had failed to connect with a customer because they had been communicating in the internal language, you can be sure it wouldn’t be the salesperson’s fault.

The customer was stupid.
They just didn’t get it. 
It wasn’t what they were looking for.
 Wrong, wrong, and wrong. This sales call failed because you were not speaking to the customer in their world about how your product or service could benefit them.

So how does your compelling value proposition shape up? Can you describe what you do in terms of customer benefits? Do you have documented success stories? Do you need to do some work to enhance it? If it’s not strong and compelling, you probably only need to look a little deeper to find the CVP. Most organisations have one, they just aren’t drilling deep enough, and have got themselves caught up in describing what they make or how they do things.

Don’t let another day go by with a weak value proposition. A compelling one can literally open the door to potential customers, while a weak one will keep the door closed.

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