In this series of blog posts I’m going to examine how you can increase sales by changing the way you approach your value proposition and begin really building value for your prospects and differentiating yourself from your competitors.
In the good old days when cars had carburetors instead of fuel injection, the back pages of magazines like Popular Mechanics were loaded with ads for devices that bolted on to your car and promised to increase your gas mileage by 10%. It all sounded great until you did the math and realized that if you bought 11 of these devices your gas tank would start overflowing and you could sell gas instead of buying it. The interesting thing about this realization is that once you figure out that the aggregate of the offers is clearly BS, you quickly conclude that each individual offer must also be BS. So the “value proposition” in individual ads is really working against a sale instead of for it, because the buyer is hearing the same thing from everyone and doesn’t believe anyone.
A lot of marketing “value propositions” share this flaw – and detract from the sales effort rather than help it. The result is that companies who have incredible products struggle to generate consistent profitable sales. A lot of this is due to every value proposition sounding like every other value proposition.
Most often, the problem is that the “value proposition” is developed from marketing’s point of view, not from the customer’s point of view. It’s built around the problem we think the customer ought to have, and the benefits of solving that problem with our product. At its base, this approach takes our product’s features and manufactures a structure of advantages and benefits around those features – and then figures out the customer problem that fits us. Now, I know that a lot of products and services are invented to solve problems either the inventor or some set of potential customers actually have, but that doesn’t seem to change the way these companies build their “value propositions.”
Companies that build their “value propositions” this way will encounter prospect resistance to their sales pitches, ROI analyses, and demonstrations. The prospect just doesn’t believe that the product or service is compelling enough to justify the price. Generally, that’s because the seller has not established value in a way that connects with the prospect. Somehow, the “value proposition” is not having its intended effect.
In the next post in this series, I’ll talk about how you can create real value for your prospect as you sell. What you will end up with is not so much a “value proposition” as a process that helps your prospect see and quantify the value you are bringing to her business.