Is It Time to Throw Out Your Value Proposition?
Value Propositions as they are typically created usually do not work.
Why? Because they don’t convey anything memorable or valuable when you use them, and mostly equate to you speaking to yourself (about yourself). And that’s the problem – it’s not about what the OTHER person actually cares about.
The problem has been defined by a study done by pershing and multiple articles written on the topic. The Pershing study found that “the strongest value propositions combine four distinct elements: attributes of the firm, benefits to the client, a rational argument, and an emotional component.
I would suggest that there is one more key to really having a memorable statement. It is sharing that you have worked with someone like them and thus understand their situation. Most people think that their situation is completely unique, but the advisors are all the same. This is a powerful credibility builder.
When creating what we call a Simple, Repeatable, Statement of Value (SRSV), it may seem obvious, but the key is to think about the other person. The other person needs to see him or herself in your statement and find it to be of interest to them.
Most descriptions include the things that everyone does followed by the fact that you do it for everyone. A better way may be to have a pocketful of SRSV statements that you can draw upon to engage just the person you’re talking with. Focus on the ‘who’ you work with (it helps of course if you have an idea of who they are – ask them first) and on the benefits of the work you do.
Actual Verbal SRSV statement:
I’m a financial advisor and we work with individuals getting ready to retire. In fact, we’ve helped more than 60 people retire successfully from your company, Abbott Labs.
When you make it about the other person, the results are markedly better! Make it about THEM!
I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me
I was talking to my pal “Jonas” who recently decided to freelance (vs building a multi-consultant business) when he left a bigger firm to do his own thing.
Jonas is a global talent guy who works across the planet for some of the world’s most well known companies. He decided his best play—the one that would allow him to focus on what he loves most and live the life he’s planned—is to freelance for other firms.
His plan got off to a bit of a rocky start because—get this—none of the firms he approached believed he’d actually want to “just” freelance. He’d earned his rep by steadily building deep, brand name client relationships, practices and business, not by going off by himself as a solo.
Or as he put it “I have a brand and it haunts me.”
We both had a good belly laugh because he was already rolling in new projects, thrilled with his choice to freelance.
And yet, isn’t that the truth?
Good, bad, indifferent—our brands DO haunt us.
They whisper messages to those in our circle “trust him, he’s the bomb”, “hire her for anything creative as long as your deadline isn’t critical”, “steer clear—he talks a good game but doesn’t deliver”.
And thanks to social media, those messages—good and bad—can accelerate faster than you can imagine. One client, one reader, one buyer can be the pivot point that takes your consulting business to new territory.
So how do you deal with it?
Yep—you go for more of what comes naturally. In Jonas’ case, he stuck with what he’s known for—his work, his relationships, his track record for integrity—and won over any lingering skepticism about his move.
We weather the bumps in the road by staying true to who we are at our core.
So when a potential client says “Sorry, you’re just too expensive for me”, you don’t run out and change your prices. Instead, you listen carefully and realize they aren’t the right fit for your particular brand of expertise and service.
When a social media troll chooses you to lash out at, you ignore them and stay with your true audience—your sweet-spot clients and buyers.
And when your most challenging client tells you it’s time to change your business model to serve them better, you listen closely (there may be some learning here) and—if it doesn’t suit your strengths—you kiss them good-bye.
If your brand isn’t haunting you, is it really much of a brand?
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