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No one cares about your “value prop”…

I had two very different conversations yesterday.  One was with an entrepreneur and the other with a senior executive at a large WC services firm.  The entrepreneur heads up a relatively new entrant to a niche market, while the exec is looking to grow his company’s already substantial revenue.

The entrepreneur, who we shall call E, listens intensely, believes strongly in maintaining focus and avoiding distractions, and asks lots of questions.  The executive, who we shall call X, is enamored with his company’s approach to the market, loves to describe the wonders of their offerings, and can prattle on for quite a while, certainly longer than anyone  could care to listen.  It’s obvious X believes in what he does and is proud of it.

But no one cares about his company, their history, his product, or his “value prop.”

What E knows, perhaps intuitively, is that she doesn’t have a product or service or “value prop”, she has a potential solution to a potential customer’s problem.  But until and unless she understands that customer’s problem, she’s got nothing to offer.

In contrast, X has SOOOOOO much to offer, and the only reason people don’t buy is they don’t understand how great his offering is.  So, he’s got to tell them, in increasingly strident terms, about the wonders of his unique product offering. If they don’t get it, he’s going to spend lots of dollars “educating the market.”

To be crass, his approach is the legendary and all-too-common “show up and throw up”.

E’s is research, listen, ask, and understand deeply.

This being Vegas, I’m betting on E.

6 thoughts on “No one cares about your “value prop”…”

  1. Joe, I totally agree. E will most certainly gain the business…Why, unless and until you can help the client self-discover their issues your solutions are meaningless. Prospects don’t want a laundry list of solutions, they want leadership that will help them address their specific goals and objectives.

  2. Consultative selling is ideal for the prospect and customer. By listening and assisting with identification of ‘the problem’, only then can you identify how your product or service can offer a solution. It is all about the customer and the ability to tailor your offerings to them specifically.

  3. Joe, value propositions are often solutions in search of a problem. Maybe the distinction is that entrepeneurs start with the problem and value propositioners start with an answer that they can deliver.

  4. It amazes me how many executives (and junior level sales personnel) show up and throw up. The sales team and executives should be required to know and use the fundamentals of Solution Selling (by Bosworth) and start adding value for their prospects/clients. It makes a world of difference in your organization’s process and outcomes.

  5. We have all heard the adage “silence is golden”. Utilize this advice wisely when with your prospect. If you don’t understand their needs, you will not be able to offer the ultimate solution.

  6. I saw this very technique (value prop) in action, at two exhibits this year. The large companies ,with the even larger exhibits, had hired what looked to be part-time sales executives/ part time local new anchors. Both of which, had beautiful blonde hair and extremely short skirts. The two I spoke with, appeared to have memorized a value proposition and were able to deliver/regurgitate with a great smile and very authoritative voice. One of the two, shared a business card, in hopes of being hired to provide this service as she does at several other conferences in the Las Vegas area through out the year!

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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