Value Proposition: Prove it to Me
In a world flattened like a pancake, markets are getting very crowded. With the proliferation of new entrants into a space, it gets harder and harder to differentiate. More and more, customers have all the pricing power and all the leverage.
Having the luxury of evaluating a few dozen companies a month, I find that many are very poor at communicating their value proposition. It is one thing to be a quality provider and another to be able to explain how one provides unique value.
We are at a unique juncture in time and space, where emerging technologies provide the opportunity to tell stories with greater richness and context. Tools such as Prezi, You Tube, Slideshare, and Linked In allow us to connect more readily with our prospects and show them what we do, and how we do it.
Leveraging such technology is especially important in services businesses. Whenever selling something intangible, it is incumbent on the provider to make their offer tangible.
For example, many entrepreneurs tell me their differentiator is service, but when pressed to prove it, they have no tangible evidence to demonstrate how their service is better than that of their competition. If every provider makes such a claim, then services may not be perceived as a differentiator. A claim of superior service needs to be supported with tangible proof in the form of faster cycle time, more informed customer service people, or same day turn around on requests, etc. Companies who can keep score on such variables can report their results back to clients and prospects in an effort to prove their value.
Providers are moving towards a heightened level of specialization in an effort to protect margins and create competitive advantage. In many instances, companies focus on particular verticals or markets, and portray themselves as experts. It is critical that such companies have a landing page for each area of specialty, and tell stories about how they served a particular industry or customer.
Client testimonials have never been easier to capture or publish. There is nothing more powerful than a client hearing other clients talk about their experience with your company on video (which is much more powerful than you talking about you).
The utilization of such tools may not promote greater pricing power, but they will better communicate value and perhaps provide a tie-breaker. Don’t make empty claims about why you are special; use every club in your bag to make sure that you can prove it.