Value propositions are interesting and useful, but they are not value selling. They don’t go deep enough.
Typically, a product, product line, or company has a single value proposition that identifies their market segment, what results they help achieve and a little bit of how they achieve those results. My favorite formula for a value proposition goes like this: “We help [market segment] do [result] by doing [how].“ For example, here is a value proposition for my next book called Selling Value:
Selling Value helps B2B salespeople win more deals at higher prices by demystifying customer perceived value.
This value proposition tells you who the book serves: B2B salespeople. It tells you a key result salespeople can achieve, win more deals at higher prices. And it tells you how the book does it: by demystifying value.
A value proposition is a good tool for setting strategic direction and for communicating vision. However, it’s not specific enough to call it value selling. The value proposition would resonate with all of our readers, but it’s not specific enough to truly communicate the value of what we offer. Each buyer is different. Each buyer has different situations and different priorities. Sure, they all want to win more deals at higher prices, but that’s like saying they all want more profit. The key to selling value is to be more specific with each buyer.
More specific areas of value could include higher win rates, higher average selling prices, faster sales cycles, and seeing more deals. Different buyers could prioritize each differently, or may find one of these more painful than the others. A salesperson could work with a buyer to put dollar values on each these, depending on the situation of the customer.
Value propositions are wonderful. They just aren’t sufficient for value selling. If you have one that you really like and believe, then start there. More specific and quantifiable value that resonates with your buyers will probably be a subset of your value proposition.
Impactful Insight: Value propositions are wonderful in their generality. Selling value is specific to each buyer.