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Customer Specific Value Propositions

By Edited Feb 1, 2014 3 1

How to sell so your customer's will buy.

What is wrong with customers these days?  Why is it so hard to close business?   The same prospects that couldn’t wait to get you in the door, that asked a zillion questions about capabilities and functions during your demo, suddenly won’t return your calls or your emails.  How does a customer that was so hot to buy, turn stone cold over night?  Hmmm, maybe because they were never "hot to buy" in the first place?

Ouch, the truth hurts, but at least now you can do something about it.  Consider this scenario…

You are stranded on a deserted highway in the middle of the night, in a snow storm, with a dead iPhone and no way to charge it. At that moment, how much value is there in your latest model, Bluetooth enabled iPhone, or your custom chrome tire rims, or your hand-crafted watch?  Not much. In fact, under those circumstances the value of a fully charged 10 dollar GoPhone is a lot higher to you than all the apps on your dead iPhone . 

News Flash: There is NO value inherent in ANY product or service you sell. 

Cloud-based, Scalable, Unified, Stand-Alone, Flexible, Open Architecture, or otherwise.

Unique not useful

Don’t Believe Your Own Press

This warning call to Hollywood movie stars, not to believe all the compliments in the press because the writers had been paid to say nice things about them, applies to salespeople too.

It’s the marketing department’s job to develop value propositions aimed at groups of customers or market segments. These generic value propositions create interest and develop needs, but when used in a customer-facing sales situation they fall flat.  Why?  Because value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t believe me, google it. 

VALUE : relative worth, utility, or importance to the possessor.

It’s your job, as the salesperson to take the broad market message and translate it into a unique value proposition that meets your customer’s specific needs.  Yes, that part is your job.  No one is going to do it for you, nor should they.  An effective value proposition targets your customer’s needs, and becomes the powerful proof statement you need to make sure your customer clearly understands the value gained when choosing your solution.

Lose Your Voice, Gain a Sale

To be effective, your value proposition must be meaningful to your customer and their specific business and personal circumstances. Pick a customer or prospect you are working with now, one you are meeting with in the next week, and answer these Value Questions: 

  1. How will what you sell help this customer increase their revenue?
  2. How does your solution decrease cost in a way that is relevant to this customer?
  3. In what ways does our solution increase profitability for this customer?
  4. What does your solution do to help customers like this respond better to the needs of their customers, and improve their productivity, customer satisfaction, retention and growth?

How did you do? Just between us.  If you had trouble answering two or more of these questions, do NOT go to the meeting.   

Postpone the appointment until you can conduct some preliminary research on your customer or pretend you have been stricken by the sudden onset of laryngitis, thus forcing your customer to do the talking, while you listen and take notes.  You may utter a few probing and clarifying questions in a whispered and raspy tone, but that’s it.  Before you know it, the unique value of your solution to this customer will develop before your eyes like an old Polaroid picture (if you don’t know what I am talking about ask your parents). 

WARNING

The customers vivid and detailed explanation of their problem and needs is going to trigger an urge to purge, I mean “pitch” your solution.  Don’t do it.  They are feeling the pain.  Let them.  If you jump in with your solution too soon, their pain will subside, along with their motivation to take action and buy!

Back at your office, sit down with your notes from the conversation and start wirting out the answers to the Value Questions?

  1. How will what you sell help this customer increase their revenue?
  2. How does your solution decrease cost in a way that is relevant to this customer?
  3. In what ways does our solution increase profitability for this customer?
  4. What does your solution do to help customers like this respond better to the needs of their customers, and improve their productivity, customer satisfaction, retention and growth?

Read it back and what do you have? The magic bullet, the perfect value proposition you were looking for is there in your response.  Yes, it really is that easy.  Looking for a challenge?  Try explaining to your 85 year old mother how the books get to her Kindle.  Really, mom?  Can’t you just enjoy the fact they’re there 

Lose Your Voice, Gain a Sale

To be effective, your value proposition must be meaningful to your customer and their specific business and personal circumstances. Pick a customer or prospect you are working with now, one you are meeting with in the next week, and answer these Value Questions: 

  1. How will what you sell help this customer increase their revenue?
  2. How does your solution decrease cost in a way that is relevant to this customer?
  3. In what ways does our solution increase profitability for this customer?
  4. What does your solution do to help customers like this respond better to the needs of their customers, and improve their productivity, customer satisfaction, retention and growth?

How did you do? Just between us.  If you had trouble answering two or more of these questions, do NOT go to the meeting.   

Postpone the appointment until you can conduct some preliminary research on your customer or pretend you have been stricken by the sudden onset of laryngitis, thus forcing your customer to do the talking, while you listen and take notes.  You may utter a few probing and clarifying questions in a whispered and raspy tone, but that’s it.  Before you know it, the unique value of your solution to this customer will develop before your eyes like an old Polaroid picture (if you don’t know what I am talking about ask your parents). 

WARNING

The customers vivid and detailed explanation of their problem and needs is going to trigger an urge to purge, I mean “pitch” your solution.  Don’t do it.  They are feeling the pain.  Let them.  If you jump in with your solution too soon, their pain will subside, along with their motivation to take action and buy!

Back at your office, sit down with your notes from the conversation and start writing out the answers to the Value Questions?

  1. How will what you sell help this customer increase their revenue?
  2. How does your solution decrease cost in a way that is relevant to this customer?
  3. In what ways does our solution increase profitability for this customer?
  4. What does your solution do to help customers like this respond better to the needs of their customers, and improve their productivity, customer satisfaction, retention and growth?

Read it back and what do you have? The magic bullet, the perfect value proposition you were looking for is there in your response.  Yes, it really is that easy.  If your looking for a challenge, try explaining to your 85-year-old mother how the books get to her Kindle.  Really, mom?  Can’t you just enjoy the fact they’re there.

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Comments

Jan 23, 2012 1:41am
JadeDragon
Interesting concepts. Love the photo - it makes a great point.
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