We all nod our heads when someone talks about the need to deliver distinct, compelling value to our buyers. We just assume that our value is as distinct and compelling as it was last month, or six months ago or….
But is our value really distinct? And if it is distinct, is it compelling to our markets?
All too often our distinction becomes stale. We get comfortable, resting in the laurels of our past. That’s human nature because sticking to the known is what we’re wired to do. We also tend to get stuck in the follower mode thanks to herd behaviors. We watch what our competition offers and match their value focus. Then there’s the habit of drinking our favorite customer’s Koolaid when it comes to our desirable distinct value, even if they don’t know best.
Somewhere along the line, we forget how to be compelling and distinct.
The problem is that we don’t know we’ve forgotten. We still believe our “value” is distinct, that our buyers are crying for our stuff. We don’t see the gravity as we set ourselves up for discounting and price wars, for shrinking margins and reduced revenues. We get stuck in the way we’ve always done it and wonder why we’re not growing.
How do we stay distinct and compelling? The key is to continuously return to a blank whiteboard – asking the tough questions that hone in our what’s true value versus yesterday’s news. Begin by sitting back, and starting with a clean brain.
Then start asking questions. Be harsh, be realistic and above all, be honest. For example:
1. How is your value distinct? Don’t just rattle off your “knowns.” Stop and take the time to step out of what you know. Take a hard look at what you believe to be your value. Is it something that resonates with customers today, or is it something that was hot in the past and is now less than compelling. Dig deep and ask yourself:
– ___Do I know that’s true? How? When did I last check it with the market at larges – not just my top best favorite customers?
– Could I deliver even more distinct value? How?
– Who else claims this value? How is my value distinct – and compelling to buyers? If it’s not, how do I create distinct value?
2. Listen above the noise. The world is filled with useless noise, some call it marketing. Business after business is making the same claims, promising the same results. Customers can’t tell one from another. As the noise increases, customers grow tired of listening and move on.
That means you have to be truly distinct. It’s the way to rise above the noise. You have to be able to hit a prospect right between the eyes with a problem you solve that they really need solved. Can you do that today? In 20 words or less? 10 words? 5 words? Test your 5 and 10 word value statements on prospects and listen to their response. Don’t assume you know – ask your market.
Who is best to ask? Try these folks:
-The prospect that doesn’t know you well yet.
– The less than happy customer who is a tougher sell than your best friendly customer.
– Those who aren’t in your industry. If they get your value as compelling, so will your customers.
– A new customer in a different market than you’ve sold before. They have a different perspective and can open even more new doors.
3. What’s compelling? Let’s say your value is distinct. That’s not the only criteria for success. You can have the most distinct value in the world, but if no one cares about that value you won’t be successful.
Just because you think something is cool doesn’t mean your customer does. If value doesn’t compel buyers to part with dollars, your value doesn’t matter. Ditch it and think again.
It’s important to get out there and ask the above audiences if they are willing to put dollars on the table for the value you described. If they aren’t, it doesn’t matter how hot your value might be…it’s not enough.
The Bottom Line
Value is in the eye of the beholder. The only beholder that matters if your buyer. So forget what you think is hot and spend time with your audiences.
Ask their opinions of your value, then test to see if they put their money where their opinions live. When you find that powerful combination, you will rise above the noise.
Sensei Debates: Has your distinction gone stale? Can you rejuvenate what made you distinct from your competition or is re-invention required in our increasingly fast-changing world? Join the discussion.
Image Credit: Wikipedia, via Creative Commons