Surely its common sense that you need a value proposition, the conundrum most business people face though is they don’t really have a clue how to articulate the value that they deliver. This not only holds them back from having a kick ass unique selling proposition (USP), they invariably end up in the dreaded pricing conversation with customers instead of a value discussion.
Now you know you provide services that are valuable, you know you should be able to convert that into a 30s elevator pitch to be a kick-ass salesman, you just need to nail what’s unique about your product or service and the sales will come rolling in……
What a load of hogwash!
At a recent conference where I was speaking, I attended the prior sessions and it was fascinating to hear conversations that all had a common thread, one person I think encapsulated the whole session… “I have had fourteen goes at nailing this value proposition, I know how important it is and I’m going to go back and have my fifteenth try and get it right.”
You see, I believe that we are asking ourselves the wrong questions when we ask how does my stuff add value and then how do I articulate that value, in that conversation we are focused on our world.
Stephen Covey is famous for stating we should “Begin with the End in Mind” and this is where our mindset needs to be. Of far more importance is the realization, that our unique knowledge and insights are invaluable to our customers, if we are able to solve problems which are unique to specific customers not only are we switching our mindset to the customers, it becomes us that the customer perceives as unique….. NOT the product, service or idea we are peddling. Our wares become the vehicle through which we are able to deliver the customers needs, when a businessperson gets this, they switch from price differentiation in the market to a true competitive advantage based on value.
Conversations become real not contrived; they feel natural and are based on our knowledge, our expertise and are in tune with our customers because they will develop empathy, focusing on them instead of us.
In short, we will get better at having commercial conversations if we focus on the customer first, the value proposition and the elevator pitch are not tools, they are conversations which our customer chats about with us simply because we are not trying to “sell to them”.
The funny thing is that the more we move away from focusing on our sales pitches, the more we actually end up selling………