What is a value proposition?
A Value Proposition (also known as a “Value Prop”) s a high-level promise of the value that you will deliver through your services or products to a prospect or client. It is an efficient way of describing you and your services without being long-winded or focusing too much on closing a “sale”.
The value proposition helps you answer that dreaded question at your next Thanksgiving dinner.
You know the one, when your Aunt Muriel asks "What does your company do?" and you're forced to hem-and-haw through a long-winded answer where you're trying to say words she understands, while still getting your point across 🤔
Sound familiar? Great, then read on to learn how to avoid this situation at Christmas.
Value Proposition vs. Elevator Pitch
You may have read the above statement and thought, “Wait, isn’t that just an Elevator Pitch?”.
Well - yes and no. Both of these business strategy tools are similar in concept, however, have a couple of inherent differences.
Elevator pitches put an emphasis on being between 20-30 seconds long (the length of an elevator ride) and a good elevator pitch should be interesting, memorable and succinct. You can read more about elevator pitch examples here.
A value proposition takes into account the above aspects, however, is much more focused on the value and benefits that your service or product provides and how that value will enhance the audiences own goals. Where an elevator pitch needs to get someone’s attention, a value proposition needs to deliver a purpose for doing business and also guarantee a promise of the value of that business.
Your value proposition goal? It should help you grow your business.
The benefits of having a succinct value proposition on hand for your business are many (even beyond the dreaded Thanksgiving dinner questions). For starters, it’s a great tool to allow you to think about your own business and how you can benefit your customers.
If you can’t convince yourself why your business is better than your competitors, then how will you convince others?
Having a value proposition written down and rehearsed is also a great way to have something on hand for training staff members or partners who participate in your business.
If everyone is on the same page, your message to prospects and customers alike will be clear and your team will come off confident. Think of your value proposition as your business constitution, everyone should understand what it says and means.
But remember, the purpose of your value proposition is to help your audience make a decision about using your product or services. So a well-written one will should ultimately be crafted to help you to grow your business.
Where to start - focus on your customers needs
When you start to build your value proposition, the biggest challenge is determining your Unique Selling Points (USP).
While creating your USP, it’s always best to focus around the area in which you specialize, also known as your niche. Structuring your statement this way allows for a naturally customer-centric angle.
Making your value proposition about your customer helps them relate to you and puts them at ease because they feel you truly understand them and their needs.
Taking this approach also helps answer the question: “Why should I choose to work with you?”. Your response can now become “Because I work with people like you every day, and I understand theirs and your specific needs.”
Answering these questions will help you nail down what separates you from your competition and will help to show your audience what you deliver that other people within your industry can’t.
Creating your value proposition
A well-written value prop is calm in tone, helpful and informative, clear and concise and above all focused on the value and benefits someone will gain from using your services
Remember - you're not just explaining who you are and what you do, you're also explaining why someone should work with YOU specifically.
You need to describe how you and your services are unique and what sets you apart from other individuals offering similar services. This is why determining your unique selling points (USP) can often be the biggest challenge when building a value proposition.
Key points to think about
Key things to consider when building your value proposition:
Focus on your customers and not yourself
Leverage your niche as much as possible
Try to make it organic and natural sounding
Clearly say what separates you from everyone else
Let your potential clients know you “understand them and their needs”
Remember to mention the value that you’ll bring to your customer
Lastly, your value proposition should be unique and free of cliche statements such as “I offer tailored solutions to meet your needs.” or "I always put my clients needs first."
These type of statements have been used time and time again and usually convey something that is already expected or understood by whoever is reading it. While these statements do answer the prospect's question of "Why should I work with you?" they don't answer the real question that the prospect is asking which is: "What makes you different?".
Keeping all of the above information in mind, follow these steps to get moving on your value prop:
Step 1: Identify your niche audience
Step 2: List your USPs for that audience
Step 3: Start crafting some positioning statements that are clear and concise
Step 4: Check, are you focused on how YOUR VALUE can help YOUR AUDIENCE with their SPECIFIC NEEDS?
Step 5: Practice, write it down and run it by a colleague or trusted friend before finalizing
Step 6: Test it on your prospects and customers!
Tools, tips and tricks
Feeling overwhelmed with all of this? Don't worry! You're not alone.
A lot of other people have felt the strain and lack of inspiration when it comes to writing a compelling and unique value proposition.
That's why there is a plethora of helpful tools and best practices available to help you build a unique and effective value proposition that fits you and your business.
1. Smart Sheets - Value Proposition Builder
Smarts Sheets is a great tool for value propositions as it basically breaks the process down to a "fill in the blanks" scenario. Instead of having to craft an entire value prop from start to finish using your own inspiration, it helps you build a framework and provide guidelines to steer you in the right direction and ensure the value and uniqueness of your services are accurately conveyed.
2. Strategyzer - Value Proposition Canvas
The Strategyzer tool is helpful if you're unsure, or have trouble putting into words what makes your services unique to others within your industry. By building out exactly what products and services you align with your customer’s needs can help you visualize and pinpoint exactly what separates you from everyone, and ultimately put that into writing.
3. Research & Homework
The best way to understand value props is to read other success stories. Across the web, there are thousands of different value prop examples for you to read up on and analyze what makes them so effective, and in turn, translate that to your business. Try a quick Google search of "best examples of value propositions" and see what you get!
On the other end of the spectrum, there are even more terrible value propositions for you to review, dissect and understand what not to do when writing your own.
If you want to learn more about how to get the most out of your business, book a time to chat below. We’re social prospecting experts and we’re here to help.