What’s your true value?

A brainstorming technique to determine your value proposition to customers.

Wendy Ruyle 5.22.2020

Defined simply, your value proposition is that thing you alone offer that no competitor can provide and that your customers truly care about.

It’s easy to list out features and benefits of your product or service, but identifying which ones fall into the right areas of this particular Venn diagram takes a little more effort. Here’s a step-by-step process for getting to your true value.  

Features and benefits

Let’s start with that easy list. What does your product do? What services do you offer? Make a list of every possible feature and benefit your organization provides to customers. It doesn’t matter how small.

And don’t just think about the physical or tangible benefits. What feelings are evoked when working with you? Let’s say you are a home contractor. Your customer may get a remodel that’s up to code, done on time, and with minimal disruption. They also get a feeling of pride in their home, trust that the job was done right, and a space to do their favorite hobby or spend quality time with their family. Capture all the ideas you can. 

What’s unique about you?

Spend some time learning about your competitors. Take a look at your full list of features and benefits. Be brutally honest and select the things that only you can provide. Even if you have a very high-quality product you can still fall into the commodity trap if your competitor also has a high-quality product.

Create a refined list of what makes you unique. Again, don’t just think about the concrete and practical aspects of what you do. You’ve got to consider emotions here too. Does your sales team just make customers smile more than the competition? Is a transaction with you a spa-like experience? Do you eliminate stress and worry? Are you making the world a better place with your ethical business practices?

What do your customers care about?

The last step is to winnow down that list even more. Which of those items do your customers care about most? There are several ways to get at this data. You can ask for anecdotal stories from your front line. What does your sales or customer service team hear again and again? You can do surveys with key clients asking them open-ended questions about what you do best and why it matters to them. And, you can work with your team to create empathy maps for each audience group to get inside their heads and hearts. Pull only the items on the list that align with what your customer wants and needs.

What’s left is your true value. You’ll want to spend some time crafting the language that communicates this in a way that generates the right response from your customers, but getting to what sets you apart is half the battle. Once you’ve identified your value proposition it will be easy to sell what you do because you do it well, you are the only one who does it, and your customer cares about it.

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