What connects your value proposition to a buyer?

What connects your value proposition to a buyer?

You can have the fanciest strapline, positioning statement, or strap line – but if it doesn’t connect with your buyer, then what’s the point?

The problem is that when you’re working through your positioning, it’s too easy to get hooked on the shiny thing that resonates in your head.

That sexy little strapline that you love and represents what you do perfectly sat around the board room table.

And that might be the line you run with. But is it right for the buyer? Can they see how you solve their problems?

No matter how good that strap line is - it needs some support to land your proposition. It can’t do all the work alone.

But often those paragraphs that support it are the real let down. They’re jam-packed with services offered and usually a lot of bullshit bingo.

The challenge again is that this doesn't resonate with your buyer. Not in a high consideration purchase environment with sophisticated buyers.

So how do we go about fixing this and bringing commercial relevance to the way we speak?

Market challenges are the foundation to your proposition

To properly connect your target buyer to your proposition, they need to be able to see themselves in it.

“Yup, that’s my problem” is what we want to hear. But they can’t do that if you haven’t heard their challenges and even more so being able to represent them with a deep understanding.

The foundation that holds this together for us are called market challenges. They underpin all of our thinking at the heart of our proposition, giving us something to build on that genuinely resonates with the buyer.

To identify these challenges we need to actually talk to your customers to find out what is holding their business back, causing them sleepless nights and slowing their growth.

Customer interviews, surveys, post-delivery conversations with former clients and even lighter ongoing research through networking works well.

But also, don’t underestimate your understanding here too. If you’re genuinely experts in what you do and have focused on a niche, you’ll know more than you might think. You just need to be disciplined to extract the good thinking from your brain and not just jump to listing services out.

The positioning needs to be solution orientated, not service orientated. This means that you’re solving problems with your statement, not just showcasing your services.

If you can achieve that by understanding the market challenges, you’ll then be able to link it to your sales engine. More on that later.

Bringing it back to pillars

Once you’ve understood your audience’s challenges and the problems you need to focus on creating solutions for, you’re ready to shape your Critical Pillars.

Your critical pillars should be a beautiful cross middle point of the problem and the solution.

The buyer should be able to understand them and see themselves in each pillar. They’re not exaggerated service offerings or even business units.

We need to work hard here to find that creative space between problem and solution.

It’s not an easy process. It’s far from the easy path in your positioning. Chances are you won’t get it perfect the first time. But you know what, that's ok. Because every proposition should be a living design system and you’re better off just starting and iterating as you learn.

So how does this impact your value proposition? Well, you guessed it – this also helps to inform your sales engine.

Connecting it to the sales engine

So by now you hopefully have a tighter proposition that talks your buyers language. But this doesn’t do your business justice if it’s not connected to your sales engine.

Because, surprise surprise, your proposition is everything in sales. But your pillars are probably the most important. They’re the anchor that everything else points back to.

Your content should all align back to your pillars. Your gateway products should all align back to your pillars. The language you use in sales outreach should all link back to your pillars.

Everything comes back to you pillars. They’re the connect back to your sales engine. Bringing every action back to your unique blend of problem and solution.

Let’s wrap this up

So, what makes a value proposition cut through?

A true understanding of the problems in the market, and clear signposts to the solution.

It’s not about listing services, awards, or how great you are. It’s about presenting the how of the problem solving. Understanding what is keeping your buyers awake at night.

Link that to your Critical Pillars and then, and only then, will you be in a position to write your value proposition.

Start by talking to your customers. Get out there and understand the problems in the market instead of living in a bubble. Without that understanding, you’ll be shooting in the dark.

As always with these things, avoid the blank piece of paper staring back at you by putting yourself out there and just starting. The worst that can happen is an iteration – which only serves to make you better.

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