The challenge in growing a business, is to understand the business culture you have created and surround yourself with the right people who will excel in that environment. Amy Errett’s way is to better understand her employee’s emotional make up. I’ve often said, it’s the words that people don’t say that sink a business. Giving them the opportunity to express themselves in the right setting is worth the risk. What do you think?Read Full Article
Without a strong value proposition, it’s much harder to sell your products or services in today’s economy, much less even get in the door of big companies. But what is a value proposition? And how is it different from other commonly used terms?
A value proposition is often confused with an “Elevator Speech” or a “Unique Selling Proposition.” It’s essential to understand the difference between these terms because their purposes and sales impact are very different.
An elevator speech is a short, 1-2 sentence statement that defines who you work with (target market) and the general area in which you help them.
About 10 seconds long, it’s used primarily at networking events to attract potential clients and stimulate discussion. The following elevator speeches show you how some people describe what they do:
- “I work with small businesses who are struggling to sell their products or services into large corporate accounts.”
- “We help technology companies effectively use their customer information to drive repeat sales.”
- “I help small-to-medium sized manufacturing companies who have difficulties with unpredictable revenue streams.”
Unique Selling Proposition
A unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement about what makes you and your company different from other vendors.
Its primary value is to create competitive differentiation. A USP is often used in marketing materials or in talking with customers who are ready to buy.
Here are a few good USP examples:
- We specialize in working with financial institutions. (Specialty)
- We guarantee service in 4 hours or your money back. (Guarantee)
- We use a unique tool called SureFire! to analyze your critical needs. (Methodology)
Helping customers understand your USP is imperative when they’ve already decided to make a purchase decision. But USPs have absolutely no impact when customers are satisfied with their situation or when they’re frustrated but haven’t yet decided to change. USPs are far more effective in the business-to-consumer market than in business-to-business sales.
A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services.
A strong value proposition is specific, often citing numbers or percentages. It may include a quick synopsis of your work with similar customers as a proof source and demonstration of your capability. Here are a couple examples to stimulate your thinking:
- “We help large companies reduce the cost of their employee benefits programs without impacting benefit levels. With the spiraling costs of health care today, this is a critical issue for most businesses. One of our recent clients, a large manufacturing company similar to yours, was struggling with how to reduce spending in this area. We saved them over $800,000 in just six months. Plus, they didn’t cut any services to their employees, nor did their employees have to pay more.”
- “I help technology companies who are launching an important new product into the marketplace – and need it to be successful to achieve their sales forecast. Where I help my clients is in the often dropped hand-off between marketing and sales. As a result, they’re able to more easily meet projected sales goals and significantly shorten time-to-profitability.”
Both the elevator speech and the USP are cousins of the value proposition, but there is one vital difference: they lack the punch of a value proposition when selling to the corporate market.
I came across this great interview with Fred Hassan, chairman of Bausch & Lomb in the New York Times Corner Office section. Hassan gives his take on how to hire, how to rise up the corporate ladder and the most effective way to mentor someone.
“I don’t think mentors are at their best if it’s only one way. Mentoring is also most effective when the person who’s being mentored really wants to soak it up. I don’t think it’s an easy “push” system. It’s a much better “pull” system.”
The 4 Rules of Answers from Boaz Rauchwerger at http://boazpower.com/ and
+1 from Michael Gansl
Boaz Rule #1 – An instant answer with strong words equals YES. If you ask someone, “Is this a good to you?” and they respond with “Absolutely” or a strong “YES”, there is no question about the answer. It is a YES.
Boaz Rule #2 – An instant answer with weak words equals NO. If you ask someone, “Does this product meet your needs?” and they respond with “Yah, it looks like it’s going to work out.”, that’s not a YES. What should you do? Ask more questions until you get an instant answer with strong words.
Boaz Rule #3 – A pause usually equals NO. Some people are deep thinkers, but not the majority. Ask more questions.
Boaz Rule #4 – Eyes darting away equals NO. I’m not talking about someone looking to the upper right or the lower right. They’re going back to their memory. I’m talking about their eyes going horizontal for a second. What should you do? Ask more questions to find out if they have another or better idea. A subset to this rule: If someone looks away from you at the point of the answer, it’s usually a lie.
The goal is to SLOW DOWN. Pay attention to the tone, pacing, body language and the eyes. You may find that these rules can get you on the road to understanding people more easily. These rules will apply no matter whether you’re moving in miles per hour or kilometers.
+1 Gansl Rule: – Getting someone to say OK does not mean they agree with you. It may only mean they heard what you are saying. It is not to be confused with either a Yes, or a No.
The vast majority of small business owners consider word-of-mouth customer referrals and networking with their peers the most effective tactics for marketing their services.
Read the full article for more information including a detailed infographic: http://bit.ly/WrYTVG
This link to Alley Watch can be of great help if you are considering venture capital money: http://bit.ly/TYHOWB