If a salesperson can’t adequately convey the value proposition of a product or service to a customer, he or she is unlikely to feel any urgency about buying it. In basic terms, a value proposition is a promise of value. It lets the prospect know how the product or service can solve a pressing problem.
A value proposition should outline specific benefits as well as explain why the customer should buy from that company instead of the competition. With sales closing averages hovering near 30 percent, it’s clear that not enough salespeople have perfected the art of delivering a convincing value proposition.
Start by Listening
Part of the problem is that sales professionals do too much talking and not enough listening. They’re trying to sell what they assume the customer needs without hearing what he or she is trying to say. To create a better customer value proposition, try asking the following questions:
- What do you plan to do with the product or service you purchase from our company?
- What metrics will you use to determine that you have solved the problem?
- What will you and your business gain by purchasing from us?
- What criteria do you use to select the best proposal?
It’s also important for sales professionals to understand that they can’t and shouldn’t try to reach everyone. This is no better than throwing sand at a wall and hoping that it sticks.
Go Beyond Trying to Get a Customer’s Attention
Any company can make a lot of noise, spend a lot on promotions, and get thousands of potential customers to notice what it’s trying to sell. Without a strong value proposition ready for the onslaught of leads, this type of attention often dies out quickly with little follow-through from the new prospects.
It’s also worth considering that coming across too flashy might turn people away instead. Consumers have developed short attention spans from advertising overload. They’re not interested in clutter, confusion, or an inconsistent message. Companies should work hard to build consistency in messaging and a positive brand image before even considering a new value proposition.
The Example of Slack
Slack is a productivity app that bills itself as simple yet dedicated enough to handle collaborations of large teams working on complex projects. Upon navigating to the website, visitors soon learn that Slack can simplify their working lives while making business more pleasant and productive at the same time. Who doesn’t want that? The homepage photo shows a picture of a robot on Mars, which happened because members of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab used Slack to work together on the launch. The message is clear. If NASA trusts Slack and uses it successfully, anyone can.
Slack also advertises that users can integrate all tools they use online into its platform. As this is a common pain point for users of cloud-based productivity apps, it makes sense to address it immediately. Finally, Slack wraps it all up with a simple three-word slogan “Be Less Busy.” It promises to help users achieve that with its many features.
Listening, offering true value, and demonstrating how the product or service hits multiple pain points are all good place to start for salespeople looking to improve their value propositions.