Is it time to get clearer on exactly why customers should prefer your company?There can be many attributes for which a product, service or entire company wants to be known: Fastest, cheapest, best quality, most features, most reliable, perfect for a specific situation, trusted, great customer service and more – the list of possibilities is endless.

If you attempt to make too many claims at the same time, your messages will probably lose their impact and be forgotten. That’s where a ‘value proposition’ (or ‘valprop’ as it’s often known) comes in. But how do you add new power and clarity to the way you communicate the benefits of your company, and its products and services?

What exactly is a value proposition?
Used in a variety of sales and marketing contexts, a value proposition is a statement of customer value that convinces prospective customers that a particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than competitive products or services. A single product or service may also have several value propositions, differing to match the needs and priorities of different buyer types.

According to sales training leader RAIN Group, there are three critical components of an effective value proposition:

  1. You have to resonate. Buyers have to want and need what you’re selling.
  2. You have to differentiate. Buyers have to see why you stand out from the other available options.
  3. You have to substantiate. Buyers have to think it’s likely that you can deliver on your promises.

Creating a value proposition
Arriving at a good value proposition requires plenty of brainstorming, helped by various fill-in-the-blanks templates such as: “Our (product/service) help(s) (ideal customer) who want(s) solution/opportunity by (major benefit) unlike (alternative).”

Your first attempts will likely be long, slightly clumsy and not very memorable statements, but continued efforts will move these closer and closer to something much shorter and more powerful. In a creative process like this, all ideas are welcome, so don’t hold back! And here’s one particularly important idea to keep in your mind: It’s better to be something special to some people than nothing special to everyone!

Will it do the job?
As the brainstorming session draws to a close, it will be time to evaluate your new value propositions to determine if they are powerful enough to be useful:

  • Does your value proposition clearly identify what differentiates your offering from that of your competitors?
  • Is it short and memorable?
  • Is it relevant to your most important customers?
  • Does it add value to your customers?
  • Will it encourage customers to pay a premium?
  • Can it aid in the selling process?
  • Does it build customer loyalty?
  • Can it attract positive PR interest?

At the end of the day, if a value proposition doesn’t sound good to your customers and/or you can’t remember it without a Powerpoint slide, go back and try again!