According to Wikipedia, "A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer that value will be experienced."
So what's your value proposition? That's one of the questions we ask when new members join the group. Most people in business know that they need a value proposition only they're not sure what it is or how to define it. In fact, some of the responses of a handful of recent members were:
Was anyone sold on those value propositions? Or how about that last one? Can you imagine telling a customer that?
Customer: Tell me, what's so valuable about your product or service?
You: I'll tell you later...
Just imagine the look on their face when you tell them that!
So, no offense to the people that wrote those responses for their answers. The point is that most people don't think about their value proposition and that's a huge mistake. In fact, a good value proposition can be the difference between a prospect and a sale.
Your value proposition needs to "speak" to your clients and draw them into you and your business. It needs to say to them, "I'm the business you want to work with and here's why..."
Let's face it, sharing knowledge, experiences, resources, new ideas... these are all fairly common things which any good business will do. What makes YOU stand out above the crowd though? What makes YOU the business to work with?
Here are some tips when putting together your value proposition:
Instead of serving 1 billion customers like McDonalds, carve out a niche to work with.
Think about a doctor. A generalist may need to know a lot of information about pretty much everything! A specialist only has to know as much as they can about one subject. Which one usually makes more money? The guy who has to know everything or the guy who knows one thing really well?
If you are going through a divorce, do you want to hire an attorney who specializes in divorce and that's all they do or the attorney who is a general practitioner that does family law, divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, wills, real estate closings, and more? What makes you special and who are your target customers?
2) Be interesting!
I once met an accountant who introduced himself as, "Hi. My name is Joe and I'm a CPA. Call me if you want your taxes done." That's it. Are you interested? Would you call him? First of all, how many CPA's are out there in the world? (According to Wikipedia, there are about 360,000 of them). Second, why would I call you instead of the other 359,999 CPA's out there?
Hey, don't get me wrong, Joe was a nice guy. He just wasn't very interesting. Of course, maybe you don't want your CPA to be interesting. What if instead he said something like, "Hi. My name is Joe and being a CPA is fun!!! Why? Because I specialize in helping people save money from the IRS so that they can use it to have fun themselves! And helping people have fun is fun! Call me today and start having some fun!" O.k. I threw that together and you get my point. Boring and straight forward or fun and exciting. You decide.
3) Fill a void.
Know your customer and what they're looking for. Find out what they want and need and give it to them. Here's a question for you, would you ever pay $10,000 for a bottle of water? Of course not silly...
Unless you were stranded in the middle of the desert without water for 2 days and I had the only bottle of water. Then that $10,000 would be well worth it for you. If you can show the value of your product or service so that people want and need your product or service to fill some kind of void in their life, then you've got a life long customer.
4) Create a new marketplace.
Steve Jobs is notorious for saying, "people don't know what they want until you show it to them." That's why he dispised customer focus groups. He just wanted to "make great products." And that's exactly what he did.
In fact, he created an entire culture of products. The iPod was not the first music player out there. The iPhone was not the first smartphone. The iPad was not the first tablet. The genius of Apple was that they created a marketplace of users who loved their products and sold tons of apps, add-ons, and downloads making Apple one of the most successful companies in history.
Does your product or service do this?
There's a lot more that goes into a good value add proposition and hopefully this will give you a good start. Take some time and think it through and decide how you can really provide value to people. That's what's going to sell your product or service.