Creating Your Value Proposition: It’s Not Your History!

Curating your organization’s value proposition is a fun exercise that brings people together along with synthesizing your company’s DNA. Too often, however, organizations feel they need to present their history of achievements, how they began as an organization X number of years ago and/or the biographies of their founders. All of these are wrong. How your organization got its start can be interesting ONLY after you’ve presented your unique offering, not before it.

In this video, I explain what I mean and the importance of your team being in “one voice” when communicating your brand:

Four Score and Seven Years Ago….

That line worked for Lincoln, who was establishing a point about the evolution of a nation over time. But if YOU try to give an oral history of your company, it won’t work as well. I recall one Fortune 100 client whose value proposition began with the company’s founder and the international situation he found himself in that catalyzed the creation of their service. And this went on for four pages! This was more a cure for insomnia than anything else. What he did not deliver was how his company and its offering had become indispensable in today’s world.

Developing Your Value Proposition

I’ve worked with hundreds of executives, helping them synthesize their company’s DNA into a coherent and logical value proposition. The process is not that hard. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Gather together your top three business development execs who have a track record of procuring solid business for your organization.
  2. Schedule an entire day to mine their experience and situations so you create a value proposition that is ready for the real world.
  3. Begin your facilitation of the group with the challenges they are facing in your marketplace and how your product/service solves these issues.
  4. Start the outline. Create an agenda of DNA points that need to be made. List the points in the order that best edifies your clients. Think of each point as an individual chapter in a book. Make sure the order of DNA points is defendable, i.e. there’s a reason why you discuss point A before B.
  5. Storyboard each point with its own page and place each page on a wall to view the story line. It’s amazing how clear your value proposition becomes when everyone can see it!
  6. Get it done in eleven pages, no more.
  7. Script the presentation. Yes, script it, no bullets points. The more your team is in one-voice with your value proposition the better the resonance of clarity in the marketplace and the less blurring your brand has.

Enjoy the process; it’s quite revealing and very fulfilling. Let me know how it goes or, contact me if you need help guiding your team through it.

When was the last time you heard each team member deliver your company’s value proposition? What did it reveal to you? Let me know in the comments below. -SG

Presentations That Fit!

Most of you know my passion for listening and truly understanding a client well before you deliver your presentation.

We’ve just finished a series of coaching points focused on developing a killer presentation based on your value proposition. One of the sure fire ways to dilute a great presentation is to deliver it too soon! Read more

Creating Your Value Proposition: Step 3

It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing!

The jazz great Duke Ellington was right. And it applies to you and your presentation! A presentation has to be entertaining and educating. You need to develop a rhythm and a level of alacrity (cheerful readiness) that’s infectious. Read more

Creating Your Value Proposition: Step 2

If you read my last post, you should now have a list of your company’s attributes. Do you? If not, give that post a read. We’ll wait.

OK, now that you’re back, I want you to start thinking like Steven Spielberg. Once Spielberg finishes filming, it’s off to the edit room to complete the project…you too! Read more

First Step to Creating Your Value Proposition

In my last post, we looked at how important your value proposition is and especially, how it is communicated. Now that you’ve gathered the essential value points from the reconnaissance and questions I recommended, you can begin to develop your value proposition.

This week, I will kick off a three-part series aimed at helping you shape your message so that it is crystallized and becomes the core of how your directs communicate your brand.

Step #1: Think More, Speak Less

No doubt you have endured the sometimes painful process of creating a company “mission statement.” The result can be a considerably long tome that, while capturing ALL that the company stands for, it’s sheer size or unmemorable qualities make it destined for mothballs. However, strategic, long-term thought went into creating that document and I wholeheartedly believe that it could be time well spent.

I recommend taking all of that good work, and serious thought, and boil it down as much as you can to the core elements that really get your team fired up. Think seven minutes. In seven minutes (or less) anyone on your team should be able to so effectively communicate your company’s value proposition that they will not only grab your client’s attention but, will have them asking for more. Now you’re getting somewhere.

Too often, we feel a need to pack so much data, supporting arguments, examples and justification into our value proposition that it begins to sound like a defense case rather than a statement that pridefully says “We are good at what we do and we make a difference doing it.”

Homework: List Your Values

Your homework for Step #1 of this process is to create a list of all your company’s attributes, your core values. Why do you do what you do? Why do your customers hire you? Why do employees work for you, and why do they stay working for you?  Make this list, in no particular order, and have other key stakeholders do the same. We will take a look at that list next week.  Have fun with it and let me know how it goes (or send me your list if you’d like!)