Value Propositions In Sales

Many organizations use the term “value proposition” and refer to adding value without really doing either. Who defines “value”?

In sales, there are two levels of value proposition – the “general” one that you may use to hook the customer or prospect’s interest and then the “specific” proposition as the key part of your presentation. There is no doubt that presenting with impact is important however  The problem is that most "value propositions" do not tend to promote specific benefits to a specific organization or prospect - they tend to be general statements of what the seller’s offering can provide. They are not VALUE propositions at all; they tend to be "advantage propositions."

To be more successful, your value proposition must be specific to that prospect, you need to translate it into something that impacts the prospect's situation.

Think about the objective of the value proposition – and then start to gather the data.  Ideally you will gather data specific to the prospect’s organization.  If you cannot get that – use industry averages and other metrics you can research.  Now you can write it – stressing the return to the prospect.

The aim is to suggest the quantified benefits that the prospect can hope to achieve by using your product or service and the specific offering being made. It is not a guarantee – but intended as a “hook” and should be based on the research or experience with other customers.

Value propositions can be used as a hook over the phone, in a face-to-face meeting or even as part of a direct mail campaign.


Value Proposition Example (for initial approach.)

"WE BELIEVE  (their  organization or company)  COULD  (state what they can do, improve, save or achieve)  BY £/€/$  ( or %__ ) BY BEING ABLE TO (describe what they can do differently) AS A RESULT OF (describe the offering or technology you are proposing) FOR A TYPICAL INVESTMENT OF £/€/$         


A good Value Proposition

Some assumptions may have to be made in the absence of facts. The use of industry averages or conservative metrics is acceptable. You must be prepared to share/defend any metrics or assumptions provided within a Value Proposition.

Is a “specific” Value proposition

After your meeting(s), exploration and fact finding you should have a clear idea of the issues that the prospect organisation is facing, and the issues for the key players in the problem solving and decision makingg Unit. It is when these are being resolved that they will perceive they are getting value and want to buy.

Your Value proposition is a key part of Solution selling and needs to concentrate on the way your proposed solution addresses these issues and the benefits that you, and your product or service, will deliver.  The following checklist can help you gather the facts you need and then structure your proposal or presentation in such a way that it is acting as a specific value proposition that targets a specific issue or solves a recurring problem the prospect has.

Carry out your assessment and planning by working through the following points:










Consequences (effectontheir business)        
Desired situation        
Solution- concept        

The WISH LIST sales value proposition model

Read through the conclusions from this assessment – and prepare your presentation or proposal.  A structure that can help with this, and making sure that it is focussing on the prospect, their needs and delivering value – is shown here:  (The WISH LIST model is about the combined wishes coming together!)  This does not pretend to be highly complex – it is a straightforward way of working through things and provides an easy to remember structure if you use it.  This enables you to keep in control when presenting to the prospect’s and reminds you to cover what all those involved are concerned about in the search for value.

W – ho is involved.  Remember that you need to address the value drivers of all those who are in the DMU.

I – ssues.  Summarise the range of issues that they all have.

S – ymptoms.  What is the evidence of these issues (or problems) in the business or market?  What would be the symptoms if nothing was done?

H – opes.  What had they wanted to achieve, or have instead of the present situation?  (Use their own words back to them.)

L – ink.  Combine the various issues and drivers and show how they link to the overall solution you are proposing.

I – dentify.  Describe your solution in concept and get agreement.

S – olution statements.  Go through the solution, step by step (the concept has been agreed!) making sure you are using benefit statements – and get acceptance for each one.

T – ie up.  Summarise, handle any objections and go for commitment.


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