Let’s face it—most organizations’ value propositions are terrible, and it’s not because the company doesn’t offer something of value.
It’s because what most companies say about themselves is almost identical to what their competitors say about themselves.
This means that, as a sales rep at your company, you’re likely to be saying the exact same things to prospects as a competitive sales rep at a different company.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. The truth is that it’s really difficult to say something different about your company than what others are saying about theirs.
Just take the example of the common saying, “We have the best service.” I want you to think of an organization in your industry that has terrible service. Do you think their sales reps are telling prospects, “Our service is terrible”?
No, of course not. They’re still saying, “We have the best service,” just like every other company is.
So, whatever your value proposition is…it can’t be like everyone else’s. It’s time to flip the script entirely.
In this video, I’m going to show you why your value proposition probably sucks—and five ways to make it way better. Check it out:
Value Proposition Tip #1: Stop talking about how you’re different—you’re not.
Here’s the thing—if you have a prospect who asks, “What makes you different?” chances are you’ll start rattling off a list of things that supposedly differentiate you from your competitors. But in the eyes of your prospect, that list of things doesn’t really differentiate you at all—because your competitors are saying the same exact stuff.
The bottom line is that telling a prospect how you’re different is not going to accomplish anything. Instead, you simply need to behave differently in the conversation.
The next time a prospect asks, “What makes you different?” or “Why should I do business with you instead of your competitors?” don’t rattle off your canned list of differentiators.
Instead, say something like: “You know what? I really appreciate your asking me that—and quite frankly, at this point in the conversation, I’m not sure that you should do business with us” or “I’m not sure that we will be the right solution for you.”
Then go on to say, “Would it be OK if I asked you some questions to find out what’s really going on—and then I can tell you whether we might be able to solve some of those problems?”
When you say this, prospects will think to themselves, “Whoa, this person is really different. They’re behaving in a way that is completely distinct from all of the other reps.”
Even though you’re not likely to say much that’s different, you can behave in a way that is totally different. Remember that.
Value Proposition Tip #2: Drop the fancy buzzwords.
Take a look right now at your company’s value proposition. Do you see words like unique, innovative, game-changing, or high-value? Buzzwords that we’re hearing a lot right now are immediately going to cause the prospect to tune out.
When prospects hear a word like unique, it immediately has the ironic impact of making them think, “Oh, these guys are actually just like everyone else.” So, drop all the fancy buzzwords from your value proposition—and instead, just get to the point.
Value Proposition Tip #3: Provide insight into the prospect’s world.
In our community, we use the term Opening Play to describe the value proposition. These are the first 20 seconds of any conversation with a prospect, and it’s your best opportunity to be really distinct.
While the vast majority of sales reps will use these precious opening moments to talk about themselves and tout all the great things about their company, you will set yourself apart by instead providing insight into the prospect’s world.
So, you might say something like, “Right now, we’re seeing a lot of organizations in your shoes dealing with challenge one, challenge two, and challenge three.”
It’s not about the benefits that your company offers, but rather the challenges that you can help them ultimately solve. Providing insight as part of your value proposition is going to completely flip the script and dramatically improve your standing.
Value Proposition #4: Discuss the challenges you see in the industry.
This part of your value proposition builds off of the last idea of providing insight. Describe a few of the most common challenges that you’re seeing similar organizations facing—challenges that you solve, of course. When you put it all together, here’s how it might sound:
“Right now, we’re seeing a lot of clients in your industry dealing with reps who are getting beat down on price, they’re being treated as just another vendor, or lastly, they’re seeing a lot of their reps struggling just to maintain quota. Do any of those issues ring true to you?”
By listing out these three specific challenges, we’re engaging prospects in a real, dynamic conversation.
Value Proposition #5: Close with a question.
In the last example, I listed off three challenges and then closed with the question, “Do any of those issues ring true to you?” By doing so, I’m opening the conversation in a very low-pressure way that engages prospects in a conversation—and it’s really hard for them not to respond to that.
Close out your value proposition with a question to suck prospects into that conversation. When you think about it, your new value proposition isn’t really a traditional value proposition at all. Instead, it’s about actually sharing insight, identifying a few key challenges, and then closing with a question.
Do this, and you will stand out from your competitors by completely flipping the script.
So, there you have it. Now you know why your value proposition probably sucks—and five ways to make it way better. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section to join the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.