22 January 2016
What’s your “ value proposition?”
I overheard someone asking this question at an Aberdeen Networking Event this morning. It made me wonder how many of us can actually articulate this ..?
I know what it’s not.
It’s certainly not a few sentences strung together and referred to as a mission statement.(I hate that term..) Your value proposition is essentially the collection of reasons why people would buy from you. The reasons why people buy typically fall into three components that in total form the simple rules of winning business:
Potential buyers have to need what you’re buying. It has to resonate with them. Potential buyers have to see why you stand out from the other available options. You have to differentiate. Potential buyers have to believe that you can deliver on your promises. You have to substantiate. So, what happens if you don’t follow all three of the value proposition rules?
Remove resonance, and people just won’t buy what you’re selling. Remove differentiation, and they’ll pressure your price or attempt to get your service elsewhere. Remove your ability to substantiate your claims, and while clients may want what you sell (you resonate), and may perceive you to be the only people in Scotland that do what you do (you differentiate), they don’t believe you and won’t risk working with you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against mission statements or credentials that makes a firm grow. “Cameron Carnegie helps professional services firms develop & grow.” You can see the message right there…. This message may resonate to some degree (perhaps you want to grow your revenue) and differentiate (it’s a small percentage of firms that focus on professional services firms), but it doesn’t do anything for substantiation (we do that elsewhere). Regardless, if you want to resonate, differentiate, and substantiate, you need to do much more than write a short sentence…or a long sentence, or a paragraph, or a page. While you can sum it up, the summary itself doesn’t carry much weight. It just stands to do a little positioning for you. Your actual value proposition—the collection of reasons people buy from you—is likely to be instilled in the culture of your firm and your relationships with clients. Then it’s communicated through the collection of messages you bring to the market.
So instead of trying to come up with a brilliant, simplified value proposition statement, focus on understanding all of the components that make up your offering. Then you can really get your value across.