Nobody Buys a Value Proposition
Posted by Jeff Thull
Value is at the heart of what every customer wants to buy. If you can’t position yourself and your company as a source of value, executives will not want to talk to you. If you can’t clarify what that value is to a specific executive, those executives will not take any action and most certainly won’t buy. The issue of value is inescapable. Every conversation with an executive, or anyone within the customer’s organization for that matter who has any power or influence, must include a conversation about value. The irony is that the more we try to differentiate ourselves by portraying our value through a value proposition, which we present to our prospects, the more we all sound the same.
So the question most of us ask ourselves is how do we fix that? How do we set ourselves apart? First, we take the focus off ourselves and the value we are capable of providing. By the way, that’s all a value proposition is — a description of the value we are capable of providing. A capability is simply not relevant unless and until the executive we wish to engage has a requirement for that value. Take for example the drug Lipitor. Lipitor has the capability to reduce cholesterol levels. It delivers value if you have high cholesterol levels. If you have low cholesterol levels, Lipitor has no value to you.
The problem is that the way most salespeople present their value can often be described as a “value assault.” Most salespeople present their value proposition as, “This is the value we provide, this is what it has enabled customers like you to do and you will be able to do the same if…” It is definitely seen as “selling” and therefore, whatever value you suggest it is, the customer is likely to reduce its value because they will assume it is likely exaggerated to make the sale. The second problem is that it leaves it up to the customer to translate that value into elements relevant to their business and their job responsibilities.
Continues @ Inc.com