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Four Places to Sharpen Your Value Proposition

blogpost Jun 28, 2023

Critical Questions Your Value Proposition Must Answer


Look up the term “value proposition” and you’ll see a definition: “an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.” In much simpler terms, it’s the answer to your best prospects’ question: “Why you?”

The better you can answer this question, the more often you will win in sales. More successful “at bats”, as we like to call them.

Most business owners can answer this question, but only a few push beyond a generic answer. Not one that really resonates with your ideal client. 

We’ve identified four critical alignments you need to create a value proposition that aligns with your customer’s buying process. Sharpen your response to each one, and you’ll find yourself closing more deals and retaining better customers.


Alignment 1: Understand the REAL Problem

Your business wouldn’t exist without a customer problem (especially in B2B). These problems aren’t just logistical challenges – they’re often frustrating human experiences. If you’re an owner, you know the irritation of an unresolved issue.

To sharpen your value proposition, you need to clearly understand the problem(s) your prospect is facing. Here are a few questions to ask to help you sharpen your approach:

  1. What exactly is our customer attempting to accomplish or improve unsuccessfully?
  2. How long have they been struggling with this problem? Is it urgent (panic) or death by a thousand paper cuts (frustration)?
  3. How might these problems have changed recently?
  4. Are they aware of the cause of their problems? Or just the symptoms?
  5. Have they tried other solutions or competitors before us?

Businesses are evolving at unprecedented rates, and customer problems are evolving just as quickly. Technology and virtual capabilities… Worldwide pandemics… Regional wars… The business bingo board is looking a little chaotic these days.

So if you haven’t recently, it’s time to dig into your ideal customer’s core problem. Be proactive. Anticipate their needs, and greet them with a well-matched answer.


Alignment 2: Aligning Your Product + Service

If you’ve done your homework on #1, you’re well prepared to answer #2. Your offer must be well-aligned with the problem your prospects are looking for. This matters in both your offer model and communication.

The challenge here is that, in many cases, your value proposition will determine more of your long-term success than any specific offer might. In the digital age, many customers form a strong opinion about you before ever talking to a salesperson or clicking “Buy Now.”

This is why your offer needs to embody your value proposition as a clear, compelling set of answers to the questions in #1. To sharpen your answers to these questions, try some brainstorming around:

  1. How does your offer solve their specific challenge? 
  2. What’s missing from their current approach?
  3. Why is it different than what or who they’ve tried before? And how can you prove it up front?
  4. How does your offer fit the needs of their business?
  5. Are you focused on their actual pain points with your offer? Or have you gotten distracted by less essential bells and whistles.  

Alignment 3: Proving Your Value Up Front

Hang around Value Prop long enough, and you’ll hear one of our favorite phrases: the “equally credible claim.” If you build your value prop on something any other business can claim - with equal or greater credibility than you can - you won’t stand out.

You might respond, “They say they’re responsive, but they’re not.” Or maybe, “They claim to be affordable, but they have a lot of hidden fees.”

But do customers know that? Don’t build your differentiation on something generic your competitors could claim just as easily as you can.

So, zero in on what you CAN demonstrate that makes you better than option B. Like Usain Bolt, you don’t have to beat your peers by a mile. Win by a whisker, and you still get 100% of the gold - the order!

To get a good answer to this dimension, ask questions like:

  1. What differentiation matters most to our ideal customer? (hint, revisit the pain points in #1)
  2. What kind of value does our offer create?
  3. Can we showcase a measurable ROI our offer creates?
  4. Can we demonstrate our good reputation? Are we actively collecting reviews and testimonials?
  5. Can we show any unique expertise in a specific industry or category?


Alignment 4: Reinforcing Value In Customer Experience

Do you know the easiest customer to close? In many cases, it’s the one who already knows you, likes you, and believes in your value. It’s the customer you’ve already closed.

The key to customer retention and expansion is proving to them that they made the right decision in choosing you in the first place.

What matters most to them? Results. 

Showing your client that you have delivered on your promises is vital. If you underdeliver on this step, not much else matters, right? That’s why it’s essential to track your success in this area.

Feedback is one of the most under-leveraged gems in business growth. At its best, it highlights what your customers find most valuable about your offer. It encourages you to highlight it and double down.

When you’re not at your best, healthy feedback allows you to make things right with the customer in front of you. It also helps you spot gaps you need to shore up to deliver excellence the next time.

The key here is to be meticulous in gathering and monitoring your delivery.

  1. What tools can you use to gather feedback and assess data efficiently?
  2. What questions help clients articulate their thoughts clearly?
  3. Do we have a process in place to quickly respond to poor experiences?
  4. How can we use our positive feedback in our marketing?
  5. Can we follow up with happy customers to get testimonials? 


Go Beyond Reading – Take Action

If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve got some good food for thought. From one busy owner to another, here’s the crux: you don’t make progress without follow-through.

These critical questions need another step beyond reading. They need a clear path forward. In my experience, here are a few options to help you progress.

  1. Schedule a time with your leadership team. Ask them to read over these questions and jot down some of their own thoughts. Meet together and see where you need more clarity as a team.
  2. Identify the top area where your value prop could use improvement. Is it an outdated customer problem? Is it an undifferentiated value prop? Is it your offer model? Your value delivery?

These are some areas we walk through in our Revenue Throughput Analysis. It’s an immersive dive into your company’s value proposition and delivery. 

We’ll help YOU diagnose precisely what areas are holding you back, and you’ll walk away with a critical path forward. As we like to say, “Take the guesswork out of business growth.” If you’re interested in a program that gives you the structure and insight you need to grow on purpose, you can learn more here: https://www.valueprop.com/revenue-throughput