Here are five of the most important questions you must answer about your business.
What do you do for your customers?
Who are your customers?
Why do they buy?
Why should they buy from your company?
How do you negotiate price?
Let’s look at the first one.
This may be the single most important question you must answer to be successful. Define your answer not in terms of activities, but of results—results that are important to your customers. For example, staffing (such as providing temporary
You should focus on results that differentiate you from everyone else. Standing out in a world of many choices is critical to your success. Regardless of what you do, at some level you are delivering results to others. Your success will depend on how those people perceive the value of the results you deliver and how unique those results are. Being clear about what it is you really do for your customers is the only way you can deliver it. You must answer the question about what value you bring to the customer, what you add that wouldn’t
When I first went out on my own, someone asked me what I did. I responded with “I’m a consultant,” and as I said it I unconsciously raised my shoulders. I realized later that I had raised my shoulders because I really didn’t have a specific idea of what I was going to do. Being a consultant covers a wide spectrum. In my former job, being a generalist was a good thing. But if I was going to solve customer problems, I needed to focus: what type of problems would I solve, and for what type of customers?
is a statement of the value you promise to deliver to a customer who purchases your products or services. It is the unique set of benefits you can deliver to a customer; it’s the list of reasons the customer should buy the product or service. Because it proposes a promise, I recommend you think of a value proposition as a
, the promise of the value you will deliver to the customer. Thinking of this as a promise
A customer picks a specific product or service because of the value he or she thinks will result from that choice. The customer may or may not see all of the results as
More than anything else, a value proposition can help a company focus on what it really does for its customers and what those customers really want. It is a way of thinking clearly about what the customer’s priorities are. If a value proposition is based only on the seller’s views about what is important to customers, it may
Here are three points to consider in defining your value proposition:
What do you do to solve customer problems?
How are your solutions special or unique?
What is your promise?
Keep in mind that value
You must be able to understand and communicate to your customers the value that you bring. A well-conceived value proposition is instrumental to customer satisfaction and loyalty and company profitability and growth. Well-planned communication is essential for you to create and sell a compelling proposition for the value you bring to customers.
One senior executive at a major company has a unique method for providing
“ Great value-added propositions in this world start not from liberty and license but from need and want and hunger. Breakthroughs come from limits.”
—Paul Hawken, cofounder and chairman, Groxis; also founder of Erewhon Trading Company, Smith & Hawken, and Metacode
What is it you do for your customers? What results do you get for them? Do you have a value proposition or have you in some way described the results from the customer’s point of view? If not, there is no better time than now to begin to describe your value proposition. Be sure to distinguish between the activity and the result. Describe an activity, then a corresponding result.