5 Principles to Maximize Your Value Proposition

A colleague and I were talking recently about how we present our value propositions. This is always a topic of interest, especially for us consultant types. Clients hire us because they trust us (who we are) and because they believe they will gain something of value from working with us (our value proposition). Both must be authentic and clear and, when it comes to the ‘something of value,’ it must be what they value. Lenora Edwards¬†wrote a great post on this subject titled “Sell Your Result, Not Your Process”.
Your value proposition should be integrated into all aspects of your business operation. To that end, I offer these 5 principles for maximizing the impact of your value proposition:

  1. Know it – From your client’s perspective
  2. Clarify it – Including your client’s responsibilities for a successful outcome
  3. Charge for it – Don’t lose money due to mononegotiatus
  4. Deliver it – With a consistent process that always keeps the end in mind
  5. Confirm it – To know the immediate and enduring nature of your results

Know it: As Lenora explains her post, the key is to know the value that you deliver from your client’s perspective. The more you know about how your value translates to your client’s needs on all levels, the better you can effectively present your value in a way that is relevant to a particular person or situation.
Clarify it: This is more than having an elevator speech and marketing materials. It is important to convey your value proposition consistently in how you interact and communicate as well as with the content and presentation of your materials, proposals, reports, invoices, etc. I also think it is important to clarify the responsibility that your client has in achieving a successful outcome and to be up front with them about it.
Charge for it: Your fee should reflect the value of the results you deliver, not the time it takes to deliver it. If you do 1 and 2 well, your prospective clients will ‘get it’ and you become a smart investment they can’t pass up. You can sabotage yourself if you don’t truly understand or believe in the value you deliver. I wrote an earlier post on this subject referring to a common malady that I call Mononegotiatus’ – The art of negotiating against oneself on behalf of one’s client. We have all done it, and it can be costly.
Deliver it: This is where the rubber meets the road and you do what you say you can do (given that the client understands and meets their responsibilities too). While it is results that count, your process is part of generating those results. Therefore, your process should consistently reinforce your value proposition and maintain your client’s confidence in you and in a successful outcome.
Confirm it: It is important to confirm that the value you think you delivered is the value that your client thinks they received. This is a key step for fine-tuning and continuously improving your value proposition in order to maximize the results that you and your clients achieve. I believe this should be a personal process and not relegated to some questionnaire or on-line survey (at least not as a primary means). I also think that it is a good idea to do this right after the engagement and once again after some time has passed. What you learn about the enduring nature of your value proposition can be very enlightening (and also point to new opportunities to serve).
Now it’s time for me to go back and re-read this post for myself so I can do a better job in my business…

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