What you don’t know really can hurt you.

Do you know and can you tell me in one succinct paragraph why I should buy from you rather than your competition, or are you, like so many businesses these days, in the dark about this and answering it differently on any given day? Many people I ask this will say, “Yes, I can tell you why you should buy from me” and then proceed to ramble on and on – often in large and wandering circles – leaving me either completely clueless or with a vague smokey understanding of what they do (never really answering the “why I’m better” at all.) Trying to answer the question “why us” without a clearly articulated “value proposition” is like flying a plane without navigation tools, and you will likely, sooner rather than later, fall out of the sky.

What a value proposition forces you to do is to define very quickly who your target audience is, what market you are in, the three (please do yourself a favor and isolate the top 3) reasons you are different/better than your competitors and states a compelling reason someone should believe that. I recommend using a statistic for the “reason to believe”, it adds validity. For example, “… as a result more top builders trust us with their business than any other brand.”

Also, something important to note. You need a different value proposition for each customer segment. A customer segment, as defined by one of my favorite books, “Business Model Generation”, is different if: 1. Their needs require and justify a distinct offer 2. They are reached through a different distribution channel 3. They require different types of relationships 4. They have substantially different profitabilities and 5. They are willing to pay for different aspects of the offer.

What I am finding in my world of client interactions is that companies both large and small often struggle to articulate their value proposition. If you don’t know your value proposition, how do you succinctly influence your target audience in your favor? Indeed, how do you leave a distinct impression?  With a clearly defined and articulated value proposition you can precisely develop programs to bring it to life thereby gaining more influence and greater market share. Without it you have neither the foundation for your marketing nor do you have thoughtful reasons as to why you are different and better than the alternatives. In summary, not knowing your value proposition can hurt you and cost you money and resources because nothing is nailed down, knowing it can bring you out of the darkness.

Here are a couple of inspiring tools you’ll want to check out:

Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action.

http://bit.ly/1S7T1As

Here is a template for developing your value proposition.For (target market), (brand) is the (POD) among all (Frame of Reference) because (reason to believe).
Key elements to a Value Proposition
Target Market – (Your ideal customer)
Brand – (your brand)
Point of Difference – (The main problem you solve and your three top ways that you do that are unlike competitors)
Frame of Reference – (your category)
Reason to Believe – (A compelling statistic that lends credibility)

Another Value Proposition Formula:
We help [identify your ideal prospects] that [need help with the pressing problem you address]
succeed by [outcomes/results you deliver] Unlike [alternatives] [your solution] [describe main benefit/why your solution is the best choice] as demonstrated by [evidence you’ll deliver on promise]

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