You always find what you are looking for! One of the points that I made in last week’s blog posting was that if you were going to get ahead, you had to be very specific about your value proposition. Sweeping general statements that amount to offering all things to all people simply do not work. As it turns out, a networking group that I participate in took up the subject in an interesting fashion.
The discussion, led by Jack Heyden (Performance Mentors LLC) was centered on several questions. Although each question Jack posed was concerning a different circumstance, the essence of each question came down to, “Why should I consider your company to work for me?” The circumstance in which you had to answer the question was that you were sitting in front of a decision maker and you were on the spot to answer, right now!
Jack himself made the point that in order to successfully answer that question you must present no more than three options about what you do; the three that would most likely correspond to a problem or situation that the decision maker most likely faced.
Len Bland, (Concept Equity Group) mentioned that answering the question presupposes that you have done your homework; you have researched the industry, company and the decision maker so that you can present the most likely service that the decision maker or someone knows might need. Len added that he tries his best to learn about the person he is speaking with before he talks about any of his services. This may enable him to share a story that is similar to a problem they have.
Tom Lemanski (Vista Development) brought up an excellent point about selling in this type of situation. If you offer something valuable, and then pull it back, people tend to become more interested. Mention the ideal outcome of your services, and then add a phrase such as, “But I’m not sure that’s something you would be interested in.” Be careful to cultivate an attitude of selling that is something that you do “with” prospective customers, not “to” them. “The best way to achieve that is to adopt an attitude of an assistant buyer as opposed to a typical seller. When you become the prospect’s advocate for the right buying decision, you gain a higher level of trust and rapport”.
Tom also pointed out that, as did many other members of the group, that developing a relationship is key, “People will never care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
I would add that all of these suggestions for how to present your value proposition quickly and clearly is the necessity of being able to state your value proposition in terms of how your potential customer will benefit, not in terms of what you can do. The customer needs to understand how they will benefit from your intervention, so that they can decide why they should consider your company.