By Phyllis Mikolaitis  |   Submitted On July 10, 2018


hy You May Be Missing the Target

A value proposition is not a single statement but different statements for different types of customers and different situations. Many salespeople attend a class and learn a formula for creating a value proposition. They work diligently to craft that critical opening statement or elevator pitch for customers. But a single statement may miss the target, because like solutions, one size does not fit all.

You need a collection of words and phrases that you can assemble into statements to form the right value proposition for the customer or prospect and the situation. These words and phrases are reasons why a prospect or customer would buy from you. Let me give you some information on how you can hit the target every time.

Connecting on Two Levels

First, people buy from people they like. They buy with their hearts and justify with their heads. So, initially, you need to connect on an emotional level and then connect on a business justification level. To connect emotionally, you need to communicate that you will be easy to work with and that your style will be in synch with the prospect’s style. If you have some real common interests, it can also be an advantage. Stories can help you to demonstrate positive outcomes or the ability to work with customers like your prospect.

On a justification level, you want to show that the reward is worth the risk and the stress associated with change. The buyer can perceive that the risk is high in any one or more of the following areas: the salesperson or team, the company, the solution or the outcome. It is up to you as the salesperson to determine where the perception of risk lies and communicate both facts and stories that will reduce the risk and elevate the reward.

Building Solid Structures

As I mentioned, value propositions are created using words and phrases appropriate for the customer and the situation. Let’s look at the critical components of successful value propositions.

  1. Identify the target customer. What makes an ideal customer for your solution or service? Demographics for the company and the individual help you form a picture of the ideal customer so that you can craft the right value proposition. There are many examples available on the internet. You can also gather information on LinkedIn, in the company annual report, and in various forms of media to help you know your prospect and customize the message.
  2. Research their goal or their problem. Your research will help you determine if your solution will help the prospect solve a problem or achieve a goal. What business problems do you solve? How can you help them achieve their goals?
  3. The benefit of solving their problem. This component must be meaningful, measurable, and memorable. Paint a picture with your words. Short success stories work well here. Factual statements are also benefits such as, “We have helped other financial product managers launch new products and gain new revenue streams of 28% and market share increases of 18% using our marketing programs.”
  4. Your solution concept. Describe your product or service. It is an overview of the capabilities concept. It is not a list of features. You can include a few words about your company and how it is operated. Is it a family business or does it have international capabilities? It is critical that you link your solution to their goal or the resolution of their problem. The buyer does not always make the connection. So, it’s up to you to make a clear connection.
  5. Your unique difference. How are you and your company different? Remember I said people buy from people they like. When you craft this part of the statement, explain how you are unique and the benefit of working with you and your company. Have your products been recognized as superior? Has the company been recognized for its customer focus or smooth operation? How have you been recognized? What do you do that sets you apart from other salespeople?
  6. Proof of Capability. Finally, you must offer proof that your solution has worked for other companies and will work for this buyer. You can include a testimonial or figures relating to another customer. You can also provide documented case studies.

Where does Agile come into the mix? Since you may not know where the buyer is in the buying cycle, you will have to be ready to adjust your value proposition to their position. You may also find it necessary to adjust based on the customer attitude or new information. Feedback, additional or new persons added to the process as well as strategic changes can make it necessary for you to alter your approach at the last minute. Be prepared with your collection of words and phrases so you are flexible and can adjust as necessary.

In summary, know your target audience and don’t return to the old sales philosophy of one size fits all. Make your value proposition conversational and you will move the sale forward and position yourself and your product as a valued solution.

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Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.


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