Tuning up Your Business Value Proposition
- by John J. McAdam
How do you know if your business value proposition needs a checkup? Here’s a test. Have you ever met someone for the second time at a networking meeting and that person didn’t remember you or what you do? How did you feel? If you’re in sales, then this situation is disastrous. If you can remember them and what they do, why can’t they remember you and what you do? At a minimum, most of us would feel confused. Others would feel frustrated or, perhaps, even angry.
To be fair, people forget names, places and businesses all the time, so it should come as no surprise that someone might forget about you. However, if many people forget you and your business, then it might be time to give your value proposition a checkup.
What other signs reveal that your value proposition needs revisiting? Here are some questions that you can ask yourself or others. An affirmative answer to each means your value proposition is in great shape. A negative response indicates it is time for a checkup.
- Could a businessperson repeat your value proposition accurately?
- Would that businessperson remember your customer?
- Is the repeated value proposition brief and clear?
- When people mention your value proposition, does it evoke emotion?
- Do people ask you a follow-up question about you or your business?
- Do people find what you do valuable, relative to similar offerings?
Here’s another quick test for you if you’re still unsure about evaluating your business proposition. Ask someone you know—a friend, family member or trusted business associate—to repeat your value proposition back to you. If you’re feeling brave, ask him or her to tell you what you do without reminding them first. Otherwise, spell out your value proposition and have your friend repeat it back to you.
The idea is simple. If people remember what you do and can repeat it, then you’re memorable. If you’re memorable, then they might tell other people about you, which can generate word-of-mouth referrals for your business.
Did you get a negative response to any of the tests above? If so, then you have some refining to do.
One first step toward tuning up your value proposition is to write it down, but be careful. People speak differently from the way they write. When you speak, you want to pay attention to the person in front of you. You don’t want to recite from a script. Our business speech and interactions need to have a natural flow and progression.
A next step is to try one of the more popular value proposition exercises I often offer entrepreneurs, called “What Do You Do?” Basically, you answer the question about what you do by filling in the blanks in the following two sentences:
1. We work with people who need ______________.
2. This benefits them by _____________________.
A value proposition is basically a statement of what you do that’s more valuable than other offerings. The best way to tell if you need a checkup is to observe how others respond to your value proposition. If someone can repeat accurately what you do, recognizes your customers and understands what makes your offer comparatively more valuable, then you are in great shape. If not, don’t worry. Most of us need to refine our value proposition from time to time.
How about you? What were your responses to the questions above? How did you fare when testing your business proposition on a family member, friend or trusted business associate? Let me know below in the comments section.