What’s Your Value?
“What’s your value to me?” Every business owner or decision maker thinks about that question when evaluating new business proposals or even when interviewing someone for a position within their organization.
As a business coach, I am asked to review proposals that clients or contacts will be submitting for new business or as part of an RFP (Request for proposal) and provide my feedback before the final draft is sent out. One of the common items that I find missing is a direct statement of what the value is that the proposal contains.
I think that it is natural when individuals create sales documents or proposals to assume that the decision makers will come to understand the value offered to them in the facts, figures and graphs. However, most senior decision makers need bullet points and easy to digest summaries from which to make their decisions. Senior managers often rely on their support staff to go through the details and the analysis and provide recommendations to them that will either confirm their decision with high level data or challenge their decision.
Knowing how decision makers come to a judgment on what proposals move forward and which ones do not allows savvy business leaders the opportunity to stack the cards in his or her favor when they include an outstanding value proposition in their proposal package. So, what makes up a great value proposition document? These are the 3 ingredients that I suggest my clients follow:
1) Identify what is the gap – This gap is the shortcoming or problem that the prospect is trying to fill or resolve. This section of the document should only be a paragraph or two. In a conversation, repeating back a person’s statement allows them to know if you understand what they said. In this section, you are stating back the decision makers what you understand their issue is.
2) List out your top 3 or 4 value points – Use bullet points and a couple of sentences for each point. Do not try to get into a lot of detail here. The detail will be found in your other documentation. This is a chance to let your product features or services fire off in quick succession so that the decision makers know exactly what your business is bringing to the table.
3) Summarize using a story format – In this section of your one page document, use a story like format to quickly discuss the client’s pain point how your three or four value points will make their life easier or their product better. Think of this section of the value proposition as the “you have come to the right place” and now you tell them in a short story format how they will be better off by using your products or services. By having this section read more like a story than a dry summation of facts, it will help your value proposition stick in the minds of the decision makers.
Coach’s Wrap Up:
A great one page value proposition that combines 3-4 value points with an easy to read summary of the value you bring to the potential client could be the difference between getting to the next level or being dropped from consideration. That is why it is critical that with any documentation that is submitted to a potential client that an easy to read value proposition is include.