How to create sales with a Value Proposition

Posted by on July 25, 2008 in Marketing, Sales 2.0 [ 3 Comments ]

I work with many business owners and selling professionals. When I ask them what they do they immediately rush into their title. Each states, “I am the President of a Bank”, “I am a Consultant”, “and I am a Professional Speaker”. If I were a client and heard this I immediately state, “So What”? Professionals today refrain from their titles and occupations in the service business and speak with the reply to “So What”? The method for doing so is known as a Value Proposition.

What is a Value Proposition? Simply put, a value proposition is a pithy statement that promotes the business to clients using outcome and results. This brief statement denotes the benefit(s) that a client receives from working with you. It is outcome based and focuses all attention on client outcomes not process, method or anything further.

Most companies lack a useful value proposition. Research illustrates that many firms (93%) focus on process and not client outcomes. Exemplars include:

We provide sales training.

Our assessments assist with personality profiling.

We analyze your issues with a needs assessment.

Our model incorporates organizational redesign and leadership development.

These are not value propositions. While they indicate factual information about the organization; they do nothing else but focus on the organization. The entire purpose of a value proposition is to focus on sole benefit to the client.

Why have a value proposition? The proliferation of both the Internet and small business has created a conundrum of noise and activity around clients. That said it is vital for your services to be heard. Organizations today require focus on two complicated issues productivity and profitability- your mission is to create a succinct message that addresses these concerns to the decision maker.

Be mindful, this is not an elevator speech. The value proposition succinctly addresses the concern. Dependent the offered results the statement might also help with brand! A perfect example is FedEx- absolutely guaranteed to be there overnight. Not only is this one of the most powerful value propositions in the world but one of the best brands.

There are other reasons for writing a value proposition:

Distinguishes you from the competition.

Distinguishes you and the organization in distinctive markets.

Provides a better source of lead generation.

Accomplishes quicker time to market.

Enables selling professionals to expediently get in front of decision makers.

What methods can I use to develop one? This tool contains no more than 10 to 15 words featuring as many adjectives as possible. Value propositions have these characteristics:

• Focus on what the buyer gets, it is outcome based

• Results focused that uses colorful words to gain the attention

• General in that the statement can appeal to any industry dependent on need

Here is an example to develop a value proposition:

1. A poor value proposition:

We help create a fit individual

2. A good value proposition

We have a 7-Step program for better abdominals

3. A great value proposition

We dramatically accelerate results that match your individual fitness desires

How can an organization or individual develop a value proposition? The concept for developing a statement is not difficult to achieve yet takes patience. It is vital to look at the organization from a customer or competitive view.

Questions to answer are:

1. “What does your organization do that from a benefit and results perspective stands head and shoulders above any competitive pressure”?

2. What results to clients achieve with you?

3. What is the organization extremely passionate for in meeting client’s needs?

4. What are your core values that provide results to clients?

5. What an individual or organizational values, stated and/or implied provide value to clients?

6. How does the organization minimize client risk and provide a return on investment?

These are only a few of the many questions that can be asked to begin crafting a message. Do not expect to obtain a statement overnight yet do not belabor it either. Too many organization spend countless hours on mission, vision and values yet the organizational culture does not exemplify the creed or shamefully do not understand it. However, if you desire better results for your sales and marketing efforts it is best to begin with asking questions focused on client value and return on investment- to the client. If you cannot gain the answers the best source, your clients! Testimonials and case studies are great examples of value. Take their statements and simply develop them into benefit-based sentences.

It is imperative to understand that no magic formula exists for the creation of a value proposition. Further, it is an often overlooked and underutilized tool. And, organizations typically confuse mission and vision statements with this benefit based phrases. However, when researched, reviewed and required, these thought provoking statements might assist your organization to break away from the pack. The drafting of an articulate message might be split second differentiator between a cursory review of your competitor’s brochure or phone call and yours. Craft a new message, speak of value and results and watch the gap widen.

About Drew Stevens PhD

Drew Stevens PhD is known as the Sales Strategist. Drew assists organizations to dramatically accelerate business growth. He is the author of seven books including Split Second Selling and Split Second Customer Service and Little Book of Hope and is frequently called on the media for his expertise. Drew was recently nominated as one of 50 Top Sales Experts. Download a FREE copy of Drew’s White Paper on “Selling Effectiveness” or “Business Building” e-book at

3 thoughts on “How to create sales with a Value Proposition

  1. avatardavid

    Here is a question… I am a part of a group who is developing a huge, renewable energy concept. Very groundbreaking, very un-tested. We are in the process of building relationships with foundations and investors to raise funds. The problem with our VP is that we don’t have anything concrete to deliver, we only have a tremendous concept that needs to be tested and researched. We THINK we have a solution that can change our energy crisis. We think we KNOW what the outcome will be. We hopefully WILL be able to deliver x,y,z.
    So, to create a VP that states … we will, we believe, our goals are… becomes very weak. But at the same time, to create a VP which sounds like we absolutely know the outcomes to be true, will also not be correct.
    Any ideas?????

  2. avatarBetsy Brottlund

    @david. Include your mission and vision in addition to a time line, estimated market value based on research, estimated statistics stating the need of your renewable energy, figures on operating costs, proposed technology, comparative profitability based on other technology and crops, proposed partnerships, and future revenues based on expansion to other markets.

    This type of research will show your investors the opportunity and tune you in on what needs to be improved and discussed between your group.

    Hope this helps.

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