I always struggle with the phrase and the delivery of “The Value Proposition”. I understand what is meant when people use the phrase, and what it purports to do, but in most instances, usually due to execution, it just ends up being a pitch, a higher quality or level pitch, but a pitch nonetheless.
In many cases the “the value prop” by nature are canned, are developed by marketing; while they may include input from ‘focus groups’ or actual clients, they are usually devoid of direct input from the actual prospects the sales reps is Engaged with at a specific point in time. By virtue of that fact it negates or limits the Discovery process so necessary to real Engagement and specific value the buyer may or may not realize.
This is not to say that sellers should not be aware or know the value they offer, and delivered to buyers, it is a question of how they use it in the process of a sale to specific buyers, rather than assuming that the same proposition will mean the same value to all buyers. The balance many sellers try to achieve while executing the sale, is one between presupposing and pitching and using their knowledge to Engage; to entice the buyer rather than overwhelm the buyer.
This is especially a risk early in the process when the seller is usually ahead of the buyer in their respective processes. While the seller sees and is genuinely excited about the possibilities, the buyer, having been approached may still be trying to weigh factors to see if they should Engage or not. At times we proceed to hit them with our “value prop” way before it is time, before they are ready or Engaged.
A better use of the knowledge of how we can deliver value is to use that knowledge to create questions that will drive the Discovery process and lead the buyer to the same point in their buying cycle that we are at in our selling cycle. Use the understanding of the value to develop questions that establish our credibility, and our expertise, so we can be seen as a resource by the buyer.
There is also the reality of self-discovery by the buyer; no, not discovering one’s self; but discovering by themselves how valuable our solution is based on their specific circumstances. We have all heard the statement: “Knowledge is the biggest barrier to learning”. So if we enter into the sale knowing the “value prop”, it may leave little room for “learning” the specifics of each individual buyer. While there are likely many similarities, there are also differences between buyers, not the least of which that each buys in their own way. By taking your knowledge and using it to create questions that involve and Engage the buyer, you’ll do a much better job of asking the type of questions that will get the buyer thinking, and give them the sense that you are an expert because “you understand” as demonstrated by your questions as opposed to you canned “value prop”.
What’s in Your Pipeline?