Your Value Proposition: A Precursor to the Elevator Pitch

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Teresa Riccobuono

Every business should stand on four legs: values, a mission statement, a vision statement and a value proposition. I discussed the first three items in a previous Advisor Perspectivesarticle. This fourth item, a value proposition, must provide concrete data about your organization, why it exists and who you serve.

To develop the content for a value proposition, you must review and analyze the benefits your organization delivers to clients, prospects, centers–of-influence and service providers.

What is a value proposition?

A strong value proposition speaks directly to your target audience and tells them exactly why they should purchase your products and services. It is a clear statement of the results a customer will receive from doing business with your organization.

Your value proposition should not recite platitudes, such as that your company offers great customer service, comprehensive financial planning and stellar portfolio performance or that your clients trust you implicitly. Those are not differentiators — all financial advisors do and say those things.

Your value proposition needs to communicate:

  • Who you are.
  • What you do (not how you do it).
  • What problem you solve. (You want people to say, “This is exactly what I am looking for.”)
  • Who your ideal client is.
  • Why your approach is more valuable than other approaches.
  • Why you can help people reach their goal. (After all, this is your core competency.)

Everyone on your team must be able to communicate your value proposition to anyone at any time. In addition, your clients and centers-of-influence should be able to easily talk about your value proposition to others.

While your value proposition is public-facing, it can be used internally to ensure that the messages you communicate are consistent. Use your value proposition when developing communications, marketing materials or sales proposals.

How will a value proposition help my company?

Regardless of the size of your organization, your company will benefit from having a value proposition.

A strong value proposition does the following:

  • Decreases time with unqualified or uninterested prospects.
  • Increases the speed with which new clients come on board.
  • Allows you to tailor your products and services to your ideal client.
  • Illustrates to clients and prospects that you have their best interest in mind.

Make certain your value proposition comes from the heart, not from the head. People can tell when you are not being truly genuine. And, by all means, stay away from so-called brochure speak.

Don’t know what specific value you bring to your clients? Ask them. Tell them you need help understanding, from their perspective, the real value of your service offering. They are your best resources and should be happy to help.

A well-crafted value proposition should be:

  • Specific and detailed, yet simple.
  • Outcome-based and believable.
  • Compelling and interesting.
  • Easy to communicate.

Use descriptive words that are not commonly used but are commonly understood to capture people’s attention.

When you have the opportunity to engage others with your value proposition, be prepared to provide stories illustrating how you have delivered on your value proposition. Tell these stories with passion. When you are passionate, people will pay attention.