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Make sure you describe your VALUE to customers

I just love networking with small businesses, and often use otherwise dead minutes (such as train travel) to exchange ideas in online business forums.

It's good to get a feel for the challenges people are facing and help in some way if possible. I'm hoping for positive Karma.

One of the topics that is always coming up is 'How do I best promote my company?' - to which, a number of responses about website optimisation, SEO, social media and so on are always offered.

Useful, of course, but what gets me excited is helping someone dramatically transform how they describe their service or product by uncovering this: what is the 'magic sauce' that unlocks value in customers?

A significant majority of small business websites are focused on what the company does or sells, rather than on the value or benefit they provide. Jack Dee did a great sketch about the issue called "So What?" - google it (if over 18). In summary, being grumpy, he asks "So What?" every time someone says something boastful.

You ought to ask whether "So What?" is the reaction that potential customers have when they visit your website. 

  • You can deliver lunch to my desk - so what?
  • You now offer a click-and-collect service - so what?
  • You offer independent mortgage advice - ... you get the picture!

Here's a screen grab of the home pages of two consultancies that offer similar services in procurement. The second one clearly addresses 'so what' by telling us they can save 10% on purchasing spend. 

The good news is that changing your business proposition to focus on customer value is not a job for NASA. You can make a material difference with a few simple steps.

  1. make a clear identification of the market you're addressing - in particular what specific group(s) of customers are you targetting?
  2. identify the value of what you do or provide from the perspective of these customers
  3. describe how your service delivers this value. Make sure you cover your understanding of their situation (e.g. your knowledge of their type of business, its problems and needs) and how your service is tailored to address their specific needs.
  4. demonstrate how you are different and better than competitors
  5. provide proof that covers all the above - testimonials, maybe, or case studies and performance data

Now, you could spend forever analysing and prevaricating trying to get this precisely right. However, if the description of your proposition is currently wholly wrong, you'd be better off making an educated guess of what your customers truly value, testing that with some current customers, and making the change to your pitch sooner rather than later.

Love to hear your thoughts.

^Phil


Published: 13-01-15 by Phil Baxter

value proposition, unlocking customer value