How to Create a Killer Value Proposition that Differentiates You and Your Company

Many sellers think of a value proposition as a statement or series of statements that explain how you solve your customers’ problems and deliver specific benefits.

Thinking of a value proposition as a statement does sellers a disservice. There’s so much more to the value that you can bring than a simple statement can deliver. Sure, you can and should generalize key points of what you do, for whom, and the results you get.

However, by the time a buyer buys something, the value proposition to them of making this purchase now, from you will take on much richer and deeper meaning.

Sellers should think about value propositions differently than just a simple statement.

Value Proposition Definition

We define value proposition as the collection of reasons why a buyer makes a purchase.

In essence, it captures the factors that affect whether buyers purchase and from whom.

A value proposition is not a statement, but a concept about why people buy something. Given that different buyers make purchases for different reasons, you need to communicate different components of your value proposition in different ways for different buyers.

At the end of every sale, the collection of reasons why a buyer makes a purchase can be bucketed into three categories:

  • Resonate: They want or need it
  • Differentiate: They believe you’re the best choice among all available options
  • Substantiate: They trust you and have confidence that they’ll get the desired results

Do these three things and you’ll not only win sales, but you’ll also win them with premium fees and higher customer loyalty.

How exactly do you do this?

Resonate

There are two areas sellers need to resonate:

  1. Rational: Everyone talks about ROI and the financial impact of a sale. This is the rational impact of engaging your solutions. You need to make a compelling ROI case for your buyers. You also need to make the case that the ROI might not materialize, or other negative effects might arise, if the buyer waits.
  2. Emotional: What’s rarely talked about, and equally important, is the emotional impact. The emotional resonance of why buyers actually take action. People buy with their hearts and justify with their heads. For the greatest sales success, you need to feed both.

Do this well and you’ll answer the questions “Why act?” and “Why now? for the buyer.

Differentiate

Everyone talks about their unique selling proposition (USP) — the one thing that nobody else can match. I advise sellers against thinking this way. In The Inevitable, author Kevin Kelly shares how solutions are more and more replicable. Even if you develop a USP, your competitors can and will copy it in no time. While your offerings can be duplicated, there are still reasons why people buy from one person versus another. Differentiation boils down to two key points:

  1. Overall distinction: Products and services might be the same, but if you add up multiple factors, it leads to overall distinction of one seller or one company. A buyer may say, “I really liked how they talked to me, they’re in the three countries we need, and they’ve worked with companies in our industry.” It’s not just about one unique thing, it’s the collection of overall distinction picture.
  2. Perception of scarcity: If buyers believe it’s hard to find what you can bring to the table, they’ll pay more for it. Scarcity can come from you and the experience during the buying process. Sellers who push buyers and provide insight are able to change the conversation in their sales process and redefine buyer needs. They help buyers expand their perception of value and they find themselves selling in the blue ocean—where they are categorically distinctive from the competition.

Do this well and you’ll answer the question “Why us?” for the buyer.

Substantiate

When substantiating your messaging, it’s not just whether or not your products and services are going to work. Buyers have to believe and trust in:

  1. You: If buyers believe and trust you, then they’ll want and take your advice.
  2. Your offering: Buyers need to believe the offering will perform the way it’s described.
  3. Your company: Buyers need to trust your company. Think of the old catch phrase, “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”
  4. The outcome you’ll achieve: Buyers need to believe that your solution is going to make a significant difference.

Do this well and you’ll answer the question “Why trust?” for the buyer.

Resonate. Substantiate. Differentiate. Make the case for the buyer and you’ll have a killer value proposition that enables you to win more sales, increase loyalty, and achieve premium fees.


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Author: Mike Schultz

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