When it comes to training and practicing with their team, sales managers often ask me where to start. I always give the same answer. “Begin at the beginning. Practice on communicating your company’s value proposition.” When salespeople can communication this, they are much more likely to be effective on sales calls. Without it, it’s a lot harder to succeed.
The value proposition is the heart of your sales message. It’s remarkable how many sales teams, including managers, can’t answer the all-important question—simply, powerfully, and concisely:
What makes you unique or different from your competition?
When you can’t answer this question, it’s unlikely you can respond to other questions or concerns. The most important and urgent question any prospect has is, “Why should I do business with you?” The value proposition is the bullseye of the answer.
The problem often begins with an embarrassing fact. Sales managers may not know clearly what the value proposition is! If so, they can’t use it well, or teach it to their teams.
Who you are, what you do well, and what makes you unique (and better than your competitors) should be obvious—but often isn’t. Even worse, many companies, in an effort to craft their value proposition come up with a chained-together string of buzzwords and unnecessary adjectives that sound the same as everyone else. These so-called value propositions can sound a lot like:
We are the value-added provider of blah blah blah that strives to exceed customer expectations by providing a customer experience that blah blah blah and how we do that is with an innovative team that strives to blah blah blah and capitalize on our unique market positioning that gives us leverage to blah blah blah blah blah…
Far too many companies have value proposition statements that sound EXACTLY like that: dull, boring, generic, vanilla. They have no impact at all on the listener. None. Zero. Squat. That sort of buzz-speak just doesn’t cut it. When a company gets into the bad habit of talking that way, it will only dilute the sales team’s potency.
So, the first question is: Where to start?
The first step is to identify three core things you do well—and that you can verify with your best customers. It’s helpful to simply call your best, most loyal customers and ask them why they do business with you. Ask them what standout quality your company has. Write it down and then take a good look at it. Those responses can be turned into solid gold. For example, using vague, buzz-speak, a financial advisor might say:
I provide my clients with valuable advice to help them reach their goals by utilizing the unique products and services designed to generate maximum returns with minimal risk. Our research team is on the lookout for investment opportunities that only our unique positioning in the market allows us to find because of our unique team set up that allows us to manage assets in a more synergistic way.
However, a more compelling value proposition—based on actual, verifiable experience—might include statements like:
What my clients like most about our relationship is I take time to understand their goals, objectives and investing risk tolerance. They like this because it allows me to help them craft their own, unique investment plan that feels comfortable to them.
More importantly, we can then draw from the wide variety of investment options on our unique platform to find the investments that fit their objectives.
Each investment I recommend is a top performer, versus other options. My clients love the fact that this approach gives them confidence in their choices.
More importantly, they truly understand their financial game plan and how to get to their real goal, financial independence, and security. Our relationship is built on that singular goal.
You must identify what your customers like about what you do, and why they choose you over their competitors. You also must communicate that from THEIR PERSPECTIVE. Once you do that, you have a good start at understanding your value proposition in a way that will resonate with prospects and influence their buying decisions.
Nothing (I repeat: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) will pay more dividends than a clear understanding of the value proposition—and the ability to express it from the customer’s perspective. With those fundamentals, you can build a sales team with a potent message—one that can be plugged into any sales interaction.
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