You may hear the term “value proposition” tossed around in business and marketing circles, but what is one? What do you do with it? And how do you write a good one? A value proposition is a positioning statement that explains the benefit you provide for your target buyer and how you do so uniquely well. In other words, it explains why prospects should choose you over your competitors and how working with you will benefit them.
Sounds simple enough, but writing a good one can be tough. Your value proposition has to address multiple topics in a limited amount of space. It must speak to critical issues your target market is facing and also explain how you help remedy them. Without one, your prospects will be forced to make up their own minds about what you do and the distinct benefits you offer. Why leave those potential sales up to chance?
You’ll also need an elevator pitch, which is a shorter version of your value proposition. An elevator pitch is something you state in an extremely short period of time that will capture attention. It typically includes who you work with and a solution you provide. Below we will walk you through both.
WANT VS NEED
One major mistake financial advisors make in writing their value proposition is neglecting to include what their target audience WANTS, not just what they NEED. A strong value proposition includes both. Because let’s be honest, we don’t always choose what is best for us just because we know we NEED it. And even if we do, part of the decision-making process will always be based on personal preference. This is human nature.
Here’s an example:
At OUR FINANCIAL PLANNING FIRM, we help individuals and families reach their financial goals through creating a financial plan and helping them implement it.
At OUR FINANCIAL PLANNING FIRM, we help executives reach their financial goals through stock option planning, executing the work to get their financial life organized, and helping them invest while reducing taxes.
People don’t necessarily WANT a financial plan, they NEED it. Entice your target buyer with what they WANT, so you can then deliver to them what they NEED once they become a client.
A VALUE PROPOSITION FORMULA
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Simply begin by filling in the blanks of the following value proposition formula:
My ideal clients are ____________.
The biggest challenges they face (that I can help with) are ___________.
What I do uniquely well is ___________.
You may be tempted to list out all your services here—don’t! That is not the point of the exercise. Remember, it’s not about the long list of what you do. It’s about the results that are delivered. People don’t want to hear about the labor pains, they just want the baby. Be specific!
After you fill out the formula, go back and ask yourself: is this reflective of the result of working with me? Or does this describe the process? This will help you eliminate the excess.
EXAMPLE OF A VALUE PROPOSITION
Here is an example of both a value proposition and the shortened version—the elevator pitch.
OVERALL VALUE PROPOSITION:
At OUR FINANCIAL PLANNING FIRM, we help executives reach their financial goals through stock option planning, executing the work to get their financial life organized, and helping them invest while reducing their taxes.
THE SHORTER VERSION – OR ELEVATOR PITCH
We help executives reduce taxes through smarter investing strategies.
Arguably the most important aspect of your overall marketing messaging is clearly stating the #1 way you solve your clients’ challenges and ultimately benefit their business and/or their lives. This is known as the differentiating statement. I’ve borrowed the following formula from a dear friend of mine, Caryn Kopp, who runs Kopp Consulting USA and specializes in “door-opening messaging.”
Differentiating Statement Formula
Any ________________(insert your position) can _________________,
But I _____________________.
For example, _______________________________________________.
Any financial professional can help you select investments,
but I focus on tax savings and tax efficiency for our clients.
For example, we helped a client save nearly 40k in taxes through smart investing.
Phone a Friend
Still at a loss for words? Phone a friend. If you aren’t sure how to verbalize what the key benefits of your services are, consider asking your best clients the following questions:
1. BENEFIT: What is the most important benefit you receive from our organization?
2. RESULT: What have you accomplished as a result of working with us?
3. DIFFERENTIATION: How do you think we are different than others?
4. WHY: What would you tell others (similar to you) about why they should do business with us?
Upgrade Your Value Proposition Today
Does your value proposition that you share in your marketing, on your website, and with clients and prospects address what your client wants and needs? Does it pinpoint your target market’s biggest challenges? If it doesn’t, it may be a critical missed opportunity.
Defining your value proposition may not seem like an item that should be at the top of your priority list, but your business cannot scale effectively without one. Having the right value proposition could take your business to that next level (yes, it’s true). Clear and intentional messaging will always work to propel your business forward. What is yours saying about you?