September 20, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

How to create an amazing, kill-the-competition value proposition

Ron Stein | 8/19/2013

Your business has a problem, but so does your competition. At least you’ll know how to fix it after reading this.

Here’s the picture. Your company has been working to close a new customer and it’s looking good. Everything feels right and your prospect is indicating the deal is yours.

Then it happens. A competitor swoops in and grabs the sale. When you ask why you lost, the response is simply, “lower pricing”. This may be a reoccurring nightmare for you, but doesn’t have to be.

When a business isn’t offering a one of a kind product or service, the marketplace will only see sameness. When that happens the prospect’s mind quickly frames your offer as a commodity purchase.

Yes, you know that differentiation is key and you’ve zeroed in on your unique benefits. On your website, in your marketing materials, and every word you speak oozes your difference that should make you stand out in a crowded field of competitors. Yet, you still lose deals.

Why should people buy your offering, no really why? What’s missing?

People will buy from you over the competition only when perceived benefits outweigh the perceived costs. Price only matters in the absence of value. Toba Beta, a novelist with a degree in economics said it best, “Value is more expensive than price.”

Value matters more than price to your audience. Now you must capture that emotion in practical terms. Here a primer on how to create an incredibly amazing, kill-the-competition value proposition.

Clearly demonstrate the relevancy of your claims. The power of your value depends on two things -- relevancy and specificity. If you market an office printer and emphasize its ability to print “three times faster” you’re in trouble. First, what are you comparing it to -- an older model of yours or the competition? Then, is that measuring stick important to your prospect? The office manager may find faster printing to be a nice to have benefit, but the boss is probably more interested in how the cost per page will affect her budget since reducing operational expenses is a priority. Finally, what kind of quantifiable proof do you offer? An audience prizes a value proposition only if it is relevant to them and you can show that it’s a promise you can keep.

Perceived Value = Benefits - Risk. You may have an exceptional value proposition, but your prospect has a unique cost benefit they’re looking for. Learn what outcomes they expect and the risks you need to overcome. This is their cost benefit that you must satisfy like no one else can. And it might not be the same for everyone you target. Risk-proof your value proposition with game changing benefits that blast past the pain of adopting your solution. Clearly demonstrate that what you have is the most important to prospects and you’ll win. This is where price concerns melt away -- It’s not the price of your offering that’s important, but the whole cost of buying. What problems do you understand uniquely well? What can you deliver uniquely well?

Be obvious and direct. People don’t like to guess how your product or service can help them better than another offering. Let your prospects know as soon as possible what they will receive in exchange for their time, money, and trouble. Show them how doing business with you actually reduces their risk of moving forward and in your direction. This is not the time to be walk on eggshells. Your competition doesn’t. Always stress claims that are relevant to your audience that your competition can’t. Show people how you will deliver on your promises and why they should believe you. A competitor may claim they can reduce operating costs by 10% more than you. Yet, when you make clear the total cost of ownership, it turns out that the competitive claim is false since it really is more expensive over time.

A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer of value that will be experienced. Your value proposition will get you in the door, but at the end of the day, your customer buys based on their unique cost benefit.

When the perceived benefits outweigh perceived costs, your prospect will have enough motivation to take action. To help drive your uniqueness and promises home, weave your value proposition into a customer story to make it even more powerful. Examples of the unique differentiation you delivered and the promises you kept are indispensable.


Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.

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