Is your value proposition relevant?
Believe it or not, an uncertain market is one of the best times to increase sales and grow your business. But you have to understand that how you grow in the face of uncertainty is different than how you grow in a certain marketplace.
The Biggest Mistake Sales Professionals Make When It Comes to their Value Proposition
When uncertainty hits, many of you do the one thing you should not do – you go into business development overdrive. You worry so much about attrition or hitting quota that you frantically start looking for business, pushing customers to get deals, cutting prices and doing whatever it takes to win more business.
The problem is, it doesn’t work. Oh, you may land a few deals here and there, but with this strategy you wind up exhausted with very little success to show for it.
Why? Because you are using the same strategies to sell that you have always used.
Understand that so much more than the marketplace has changed. Your customers have changed.
When customers face the new challenges of uncertain times, their needs change. They still have to buy products, but their purchasing criteria will be different. They will keep spending money, but they will choose to spend it on products and services that solve their current and most urgent problems.
If you ignore this shift, you will be selling a value proposition that is out-of-date, making it so much harder to grow your business.
So how do you make the shift, ensure your value proposition is relevant, and find opportunity in an uncertain marketplace?
How To Gain Market Share In A Highly Competitive Economy
You need to understand the power of the value proposition and get it right. Customers in a shifting marketplace will choose to do business with you if you understand them, not if they understand you. A relevant value proposition is one that meets your customers needs – it is not about you.
Western Water Works (WWW) is a Southern California based company that provides waterworks products and services to companies in Oregon, Washington and California. It is a highly competitive marketplace and dominated by a few big players. Trying to gain market share is an uphill battle.
The leadership at WWW were struggling to compete and struggling to stay in business. The big players were pricing them out of the market. If they were going to stay in business, they needed a value proposition that not only made them relevant but one that could take price off the table.
After spending time with their best customers, asking questions and really listening, they found the biggest challenges, issues and opportunities that could give them a unique niche and help customers choose them over the competition.
When talking with customers they learned that customers were frustrated by three big issues.
- Inaccurate orders
- Late orders
- Inaccurate billing
The team at Western Water Works heard these same complaints from customers over and over again. So they decided to meet that need, and solve that problem. The team at Western Water Works, created the Grand Guarantee.
The Grand Guarantee was a promise to customers that if they chose Western Water Works as a supplier, the team at WWW would promise accurate orders, on time orders and accurate billing. If they did not deliver, they would give customers $2000.
The result, not only explosive growth, but on that rare occasion that the team at WWW struggled with any of The Grand Guarantee customers, they would not take the $2000.
Why? Because more than anything, customers want to be heard, and with a relevant value proposition you tell them you are listening.
3 Strategies You Need To Ensure Your Value Proposition Is Relevant
Secure Your Base
First, you need to create a deep relationship with your existing customers. Take the time to engage them in conversation, asking questions about what they like about your products, what they don’t, what could be better. Learn about their businesses – what their opportunities are, what their challenges are, what is happening in their industry. Do this with no agenda other than to listen and take notes. The goal here is to gather information period – not to sell, not to solve the problems, just to listen and take notes.
Second, analyze your results, look for themes, common challenges and reoccurring issues your customers are having. What stands out? What are your customers saying they most fear or most want? What is the one problem that if your customers could solve they could grow their business? Answer these questions, and you have the foundation to a relevant value proposition.
Redesign, Review, Adjust
Then. simply rewrite and recreate your value proposition to meet the current needs of your customers. The power of a relevant value proposition is for customers to see if they need to choose you over your competition
A strong, relevant value proposition is one that is created by listening to your customers. If you pay attention, your customers will give you the path to growth and profitability no matter what this marketplace does.