Finding Your Best Value Proposition
Effectively Communicating the Value of Your Product or Service to Prospectives… In 5 Seconds
Whether you’ve been in business for years, are a budding entrepreneur, or somewhere in between – you need a strong value proposition to survive. You know that you have a valuable product or service… But your prospects sure don’t! That’s why it’s so important to know what value you have to your market AND how to communicate it to everyone you meet.
Now, if you are a seasoned business owner and think you’ve got this all figured out, my challenge to you is to take the next minute or two to reconsider your value proposition. I’m not asking you to second guess yourself. I am just asking that you give it a moments thought. It’s healthy to reflect on and challenge the things you may take for granted.
Let’s quickly define the word “value proposition” here (also called “unique selling proposition”) because you might not have heard of this before. A value proposition is what makes your product, service, company or yourself valuable to another person, company, or organization. It is a promise of value to be delivered to your prospects if they purchase whatever it is you’re selling. It applies to all business and organizations; for-profit and non-profit. You need a great one to get noticed and to acquire new business, supporters, and followers.
The 4 Questions to Answer in a Great Value Proposition
A value proposition is like an offer. You need to communicate it quickly and succinctly. You’ve probably heard of an “elevator pitch” before. You know, where if you got in an elevator with someone rich and had to pitch them before they could escape at the next floor… What would you say to make them want to stay and hear more? Truth is, you have about 5 seconds to buy yourself another 30 seconds of a persons attention. Your value proposition forms the basis of your elevator pitches and offers. So your value proposition needs to be clear and succinct.
While considering your value proposition, here are 4 questions you should answer about your product or service:
1) Who would benefit the most from my product or service?
Audience. Your perceived value may change from one demographic to another. It might even change based on the medium in which your proposition is received (for example, someone walking into your store front vs. someone seeing your magazine ad). Thus, it’s imperative to consider what your value proposition is to each different prospect. Vary your proposition as necessary.
2) What does my market value that I’m offering?
You might have to talk to other people in order to figure this one out. If you have existing customers, they might be able to give you a reason why they chose your business over your competitor. And that reason might not be what you thought! Focus groups and surveys are great for understanding what people may perceive as important to them. Once you know that, then it’s a matter of amplifying that value in your proposition. A small word of advice though… Your closest family and friends are probably not a good focus group to use unless you know they will be brutally honest with you. If you think they’ll shy away from the truth in order to protect your feelings, don’t ask them.
3) What are the benefits of using my products or services?
Understanding your benefits is critical. The benefit of your product or service to your prospect should be loud and clear. There’s a lot to be said about benefits. Much more than a few sentences here can do justice. Just read the next sentence very carefully: A benefit is ultimately what your prospect gets from using your product or service. It is not what you do, what you’re good at, or what features your product has. It’s not about you at all!
4) How am I different than my competitors?
Except in very rare circumstances, you are probably not the only company doing what you do. Which means you have competitors. Which means you’ve got to point out why you are the superior choice over the “other guys.” Market differentiation comes in many forms, but it’s best to keep it tangible and substantiated. Do you have a different process than the rest? Is your quality better and why is that? Do you provide additional service or product that others don’t?
Give a New Value Proposition a Chance
Why not experiment a little bit with a slightly different value proposition? Or at least, with how you communicate it? You never know what you’ll learn. Hopefully, you’ve taken something from this article that you can use in your own business.
If you’ve got questions or advice, please leave a response below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!