Value Proposition. What Makes You Different?
The Value Proposition is not as much of a step in the sales processes as it is a mentality to maintain throughout. A Value Proposition is informing the customer of the value benefit they will receive as a result of your proposed solution. It’s simple wouldn’t be possible to leave this kind of information out until after a discovery phase. The customer needs to have some idea of what they could get from you, otherwise there would be little incentive for them to continue with the sales process at all.
You must propose value from your very first interaction. You can further refine the value proposition throughout the sales process, but from the outset, you should be able to explain benefits that only you can provide them, even without knowing too much about their business just yet. Think about your experience and the experience of your company; existing customers and how your business has helped them. If you could sum up your business in a single sentence to explain to someone, so that they want to know more, what would it be?
Value comes in a number of different ways.
It’s difficult to throw a product or service at a customer and simply hope it sticks. You need to show the customer that you understand how their business works – the intricacies, the people and the processes. The customer will feel much more comfortable dealing with you if you can talk about their business in their own words. Get a good understanding of who their customers are, how they find them, they types of services they offer and how they engage with their customers. Learn about their IT infrastructure (albeit at a high level), their organizational structure, how decisions are made and how people interact with each other inside the business.
But above all else, understand their business goals and objectives, and how you will help them realize them. In understanding their business you need to show them how their success in achieving their goals is dependent on the solution only you can provide.
Following on from business understanding is the solution that you can provide. This is an easy one to showcase. The solution is a result of the discovery process and takes into account their business objectives, pains, budget and timeframe. The solution is typically demonstrated in a meeting with the decision makers. By detailing exactly how your business and your unique solution can help them achieve their business objectives, you are providing huge amount of value. You need to express that this solution is unique – it has been specifically designed for their objectives and no other company would be able to provide the same. If there are other companies around selling the same product of service as you (and there usually is in a competitive market), highlight the value in the experience of your team and how your company has helped other business with similar goals.
While the solution is a holistic approach to the business objectives, the feature benefits targets specific people or groups with the aim at showing how the feature can benefit them, personally. it may benefit them by giving them more time in the day, alleviating many manual tasks, simplifying a process, or it might just look prettier or work better. In any case, call out specific areas of your product or service and highlight how individuals (especially decision makers or influencers) would benefit from them.
Rarely, if ever, would you want to sell to a customer and never see or hear from them again. Repeat business is highly desirable. Showcase the value of partnering with your company to achieve the solution you’ve proposed. Provide value in setting realistic expectations and working with a single vendor (you) that has access to the services of other companies that are of interest to them. Your business network will be much richer in your area of expertise than what the customer will have. Make sure the customer is aware of this and that by working with you and your company, they can potentially have access to these resources to further enhance and grow the solution you have proposed.
Vision and Guidance
Now that you’ve taken the time to understand the customer’s business, and have proposed a solution that meets their objectives, you’re in a great place to further guide them to provide even greater value. Remember that you are the expert in your area. That’s why the customer has invited you to offer a solution. Propose a vision for the customer that will achieve some amazing results and make sure they understand that you will guide them through the process of achieving those results.
These are only a few of the many types of value your company can provide. Remember that Value and Uniqueness go together. Work on coming up with your own values and how you will express them to the customer. You want to make yourself stand out from your competitors. What would they do? How can you be different? Seth Godin is a marketing expert and has written an amazing book called “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” which will help you define how you are different and why the customer should select you from your competitors.