Selling is all about helping a prospect make the decision to make a change. A sales value proposition (SVP) is one tool that salespeople should use to effectively communicate the value of the product or service that they are selling.
I use the term “sales value proposition” because I rarely see salespeople use verbatim the value propositions that are generated by their marketing departments. For better or for worse, salespeople almost always shape the corporate value proposition into a format and wording that is easier for them to express and more immediately understandable by their prospects. Marketing may not like that this happens. But, it is a fact of life that a salesperson will mold a value proposition into a something that they feel is more relevant to their prospects.
Unfortunately, this is a hit and miss process and salespeople end up wasting time with potential prospects trying out new value propositions. Here are some tips to help sellers more quickly put together an SVP that effectively communicates the value of the change they are selling to potential prospects.
Here are five key value proposition attributes necessary to attract the attention of potential prospects and accelerate your momentum into the buyer’s decision-making process. Your sales value proposition (as well as the underlying product or service) must be:
1. Clear and Concise. Your sales value proposition must be concise and the value of what you’re selling has to be immediately clear to the customer. You must be able to instantly attract the attention of prospects in order to earn their time and attention in order to sell to them. This means that the problem your product or service purports to solve must be one that is evident and important to the buyer. If it takes too long to explain to the prospect what you can do for them, and why they should talk to you, then you won’t get that chance. Avoid using techno-jargon, acronyms and insider buzz words and keep it short. Home Depot’s old tagline “You can do it. We can help” is a great example of a clear, concise value proposition to emulate.
2. Obvious. The value your solution can create should be intuitively obvious to the customer. If your SVP is concise and clear then it will not only be clear to the prospect what you do, but also how it will create value for them. This is the “a ha” moment when the prospect can mentally picture the approximate value they will receive from your product or service. This also means that your sales value proposition must be expressed in terms and language that are familiar to your prospect so that they can quickly understand its relevance and value. (See the Home Depot example above.)
3. Adaptable. One central aspect that your SVP must address is that your product or service can integrate with the customers’ existing processes. This doesn’t mean that some of their processes won’t be affected or change. But at the level of a first contact, the potential prospect must be assured that buying and implementing your product or service won’t disrupt their entire company.
4. Scalable. A sales value proposition should address scalability and relate how your solution and the value it provides meet the future needs of the customer. Customers rarely say “I just want a solution that solves today’s problem.” The future is almost always an important consideration for a buyer making a decision. ‘Will this still support my needs in 2-3 years?’ or ‘Can this investment help me grow faster than I currently forecast?’
5. Justifiable. The SVP needs to touch on the value, and the return on investment, delivered by your solution. You can address this most effectively in your SVP with a reference to current customers. “Our customers average a 19% increase in productivity.”
Lastly, you can combine multiple items, like #3 and #4 above with #5, to create a concise ending to your sales value proposition, like “Our customers on average experience a 11% increase in sales productivity (justifiable) within the first 6 months (adaptable) and a 25% increase over the first 3 years of usage (scalable).”