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How To Write A Compelling Value Proposition

By Chakisse Newton, President, Cardinal Consulting, LLC


What do you say when someone asks "What do you do?" Do you give a boring answer that makes the listener change the subject or a long "elevator pitch" that makes their eyes glaze over? Whether you represent a business, a non-profit or are an individual looking for professional advancement, you need a compelling value proposition.

Great value propositions are short, pithy and make the listener want to know more. In fact, you know you've got a great value proposition if your listener asks "how" or "why" when you've finished speaking. Here are 5 simple steps to create a value proposition that works for you:

1. Identify the benefits (or the value) of working with you or your company, instead of identifying the service you provide. (This works for non-profits and individuals as well.) For example, you could say that you "provide executive coaching" (the service) or you could say that you "help executives increase their effectiveness."

2. Don't stop with simple benefits. Look for the benefit of the benefit. Keep delving into the value you provide to see how someone is better off working with you. Using our previous example, increased executive effectiveness can also translate into increased profitability, improved shareholder value, helping a company reach its strategic goals and a host of other benefits.

3. Create a value proposition. Use your answers to the previous questions to create a value proposition that begins with the phrase "I help." For example, "I help executives dramatically grow their companies."

4. Evaluate your answer. Does your response:

    - Focus on value?
    - Explain benefits and answer the question "What's in it for me?"
    - Start a conversation and make the listener want to know more?
    - Clearly explain what you do without excessive words or jargon?
    - Address all the different markets you serve?

See the examples below:

Weak Value Proposition: "We sell insurance."
Strong Value Proposition: "We help families and individuals protect their most important assets."

Weak Value Proposition: "We are the leading provider of multimedia advertising services."
Strong Value Proposition: "We help businesses improve their bottom line."

Weak Value Proposition: "We sell shoes and athletic gear."
Strong Value Proposition: "We "bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. (If you have a body, you are an athlete.)" -Mission statement of Nike Corporation

5. Use your new value proposition in conversation and tweak as necessary. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the answer you provide. And don't forget, you may not have a one-size-fits all value proposition. You can change the answer based on your audience and your objectives.

Will a better value proposition benefit you? Absolutely. Now more than ever, personal and professional success depends on your ability to build profitable relationships. A good value proposition alone won't close deals for you or get you a better job, but it certainly will open the door for a quality conversation which is the first step for any relationship.

 © 2010 Chakisse Newton. All Rights Reserved.

Cardinal Consulting, LLC • 141-F Pelham Drive, Suite 150 • Columbia, SC 29209 • 803.753.1311 © 2008-2011 Cardinal Consulting, LLC


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