I find most individuals and organizations don’t fully understand or effectively communicate their unique value in a compelling, easy to understand by fellow human beings sort of way. I work with individuals and teams within growing professional services and technology organizations and constantly see them struggle to wrap their brains and mouths around how to talk about what they do. I think it’s a part of our ‘human condition’ that wires us to discount what we do really well and pigeon hole us to talk like smart, proper professionals in a vague, buzz-wordy manner.
What often comes out in sales outreach, marketing materials and new business presentations are things like…
Seriously. What does any of this really mean? Doesn’t everyone say this stuff? Sounds smart AND is unbelievably boring. Our emotional brain is unable to quickly see the contrast from the same old same old and be compelled to want to learn more.
(Note: I recommend “Neuromarketing” by Patrick Renvoise. He talks about the six stimuli of the “Old Brain” that is key to standing out from the clutter and getting people’s immediate attention.)
Here is a real-life example that puts together lots of smart talk. But I don’t really know what they do and how they are going to help me as the buyer. Not good.
“Our success is predicated on our ability to integrate our functional expertise in client services with our profound methodologies and industry experience. Our approach and process is complex and cohesive but the end results are simple. We gain market share for our clients, increase revenue and deliver substantial ROI on every engagement.”
Blah. Here’s another one…
”The stability of AMS solutions is legendary. We are supported by a dedicated group of well qualified people.”
Blah. Here’s another one…
“CPC Insurance has a best in class product focusing on package lines and ensuring the insured are not co-mingled with other risks and a deductible per line negotiability. We are A-rated by B.M.A, multi-industry and provide high levels of customer service around claims and loss controls.”
That one makes my head spin. OK, one more then I’ll stop being so negative…
“At InvoiceTech we transform accounts payable for our clients with our blend of proven technology and best-practices enable us to increase the control, transparency, and efficiency. Our best in class solution and stellar client list will change the way you do business.”
Super duper buzz-wordyness (you like that made up word?)
OK, here’s the challenge. No matter what kind of business you’re in what’s really different or unique about what you do, why you do it, how you do it? Frame your value in THEIR world in a way that your prospect that might be able to quickly relate to and be compelled to want to learn more.
Much of this seems so obvious that you might not have thought about it much. So often what we do best also comes so naturally to us that we discount the unique approach, mindset and offering. Below are some more specific suggestions of how you can frame YOUR value in your PROSPECT’S world.
Here is one way to think about your value proposition that will help formulate some more structured and compelling key phrases when talking, writing and presenting to people that don’t know you well.
Pain: What kind of pain are your ideal prospects feeling, dealing with when they hire you? What are they struggling with? What’s not working for them?
Opportunity: What are your prospects looking to achieve when they turn to you? What kind of opportunities are they looking to capitalize on? What’s the real urgency that makes it important to do something different now?
Open to: They can have all of the pain and opportunity that connects to what you do, but if they are not Open To a few things it doesn’t really matter. In order for prospects to be a really good fit for you, what do they need to be Open To? What do they have to be willing to do, agree to, change, accept in order to be a legitimately good prospect?
Here are a few real-world examples. Don’t worry about crafting the perfect value proposition, just focus on a few bullet points that put you on an equal footing with new prospects. Work on being more specific about who is a good fit for you.
Example from a professional services firm: Why clients hire us…
1. Recent staff and budget cuts have left the remaining staff overwhelmed.
2. Dealing with lost invoices, incorrect coding, late fees, angry vendors.
3. Behind the times - still reliant on paper and need for more (secure) storage space.
1. Ways to reduce the cost and time it takes to process and pay invoices.
2. More financial controls that help manage cashflow.
3. Have more visibility with reports, online - anytime – from anywhere.
1. Moving their process from manual to online.
2. Using and getting comfortable with the Internet / technology.
3. Re-assigning staff to new projects or departments.Example from a professional services company: An ideal client for us…
1. Stale, boring training that’s getting low ratings.
2. Their people are not playing well with others.
3. The organization is losing clients - need to stop this trend.
1. A way to better challenge their people (they believe they can change).
2. Company financial growth is tied to the growth of their people – they want to build a culture that attracts and developments unique talent.
1. Working with a smaller company, not a brand name.
2. Spending $, willing to pay to solve the pain.
3. Doing something that’s different, not traditional “training”.
Here is one example of company value proposition snapshot that got the attention of a senior executive and got an appointment.
“M-Search helps large, multi-brand companies that are struggling with being seen as cool by their Millennial target. They need to remain relevant and stay a step ahead of the trends in youth-oriented marketing & product development in Food & Beverage. We work with leaders that are under pressure to grow the company and are open to fresh perspectives on research, branding, and how to get cool again.”
The above examples are designed to get you thinking about this. There is no perfect way to do it of course. Look at your sales language, marketing materials, and PowerPoint presentations. Run your buzzword meter over it, and drop it through your blah-blah filter. Frame your value in your prospect’s world. Ask yourself what you really do for your clients, why they hire you, and what they most care about that compelled them to talk with you in the first place. Think about it, write about it, talk about it with your peers or team. Don’t make this too complicated. Remember your new business prospects are human beings. Work on ways to grab their attention quickly and find a way to stand out, without gimmicks and buzz-wordy b.s.
You have unique value and deserve to find more of the right kind of people to do business with.
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