Why Should Your Client Spend Even One Minute With You?
Why should this customer meet with you? Can you answer that question?
“Why should this client meet with me?” is the first of theThree Magic Pre-call Questions.
The question gets right to the core of your value proposition. Something you offer brings measurable value to your clients. What is that? The measurable value you bring to your clients is the reason they should meet with you. That is your Value Proposition.
I will be candid and say that it is embarrassingly common for salespeople, professionals and even large companies to not have a clear understanding of their value proposition and the value they bring to their clients. Unfortunately, your value proposition is mission-critical information that you must have in order to succeed in selling. It is vital that you have a clear understanding and can articulate in a tangible way the value you bring.
Developing your value proposition is a large and important topic and beyond the scope of this article. In a future work I will discuss how to develop and best articulate your value proposition to clients. For now, just in case you found yourself without a clear value proposition, I offer this short bit of coaching.
Communicating Your Value Proposition
Most people tend to describe what they do rather than the value they bring. This is a big mistake, It is critical to know how to articulate the real value you deliver.
Your value proposition communicates (among other things) both the measurable value you deliver, as well as how you differ from competitors or alternatives in your same space. Without a measurable value proposition it will be hard for you to command any kind of price for your solution because prospective clients have no discernible value to compare against your price. Without a value proposition your product or service simply looks like an additional cost.
Lack of a value proposition also tends to make all vendors look the same to buyers. Without a value proposition clients will assume that all solutions in the same space solve with roughly the same degree of effectiveness. How can they know otherwise?
So a strong value proposition is among the most important things you can develop for your business.
“A strong value proposition is among the most important things you can develop for your business.”
A basic value proposition has three core components:
- A Metric
- A Direction
Metrics – The metric component is the name attached to the area(s) you improve. All businesses have them. Sometimes they are formalized, and sometimes not. It answers the question “How do you measure whether or not you are doing well in this area?”
Examples of formalized Metrics for Sales might include:
- Number of Units Sold
- Close Ratio
- Revenue Growth
- Lead Conversion Ratio
- Number of Opportunities
Every industry has their formalized metrics for measuring performance. What are the formalized metrics for measuring performance for your clients? Sometimes metrics are less formal than the above examples, but rest assured they are still there. Very often, they are simply measured in terms of time, money, counts, ratios, or percentages. Other times the metric will be something unique to that customer alone.
Some examples might be:
- Time to Complete [something]
- Customer Satisfaction
- Acceptance Rate
- Positive Comments
Again, a full treatment of how to develop value propositions is beyond the scope of this article, but I want to help just in case you find yourself valueless – ‘er, I mean – without a value proposition.
You can discover the metric(s) your clients use to measure performance by asking these questions:
- “What tells you when you are doing well in this area?”
- “What tells you if something is going wrong?”
- “What suggests to you that you could be doing better in this area?”
With metrics you are simply looking for the means by which they measure results (good or bad). When you use a client’s metrics in your value proposition you are speaking their lingo and communicating on a level they immediately understand. Simply using their terms will increase both your value and your credibility.
Direction – Direction is simple. It answers the question, “What is happening to the value of this Metric?” Is it going up or down? Depending on the context, either one might be good. We want Sales Revenue to go up, and we want Material Costs to go down—both of these are good.
Magnitude – Lastly we have magnitude. Magnitude answers “How much…?” That is, how much is the metric going up or down? What is the actual value of the change? Did it go up or down by a percentage? Was it reduced by a fixed amount? What is the quantified level of improvement?
Putting Your Value Proposition Together
With these three components you have the minimum you need to craft a value proposition. The components can be arranged in various ways to maximize clarity and impact. Here is a basic formula and example:
Formula: [Direction] + [Metric] + [Magnitude]
Example: We improve close ratios by an average of 41%.
This is the bare minimum. There are many other elements that go into creating an effective value proposition such as target statements and impacts. You should have a value proposition for all of your solutions and services so you can speak confidently about the value each one brings. Additionally, you will probably need a more generalized value proposition that encompasses everything your business offers.
With your value proposition(s) crafted you should be able to easily define a legitimate business reason to meet with your prospective client. That’s your answer to, “Why should this client see me?” Now, work this into a complete sentence for your sales encounter and include what you know about the client’s current situation. Here’s an example:
Question: Why should this client see me?
Answer: This client should see me because with their new expansion it is likely I can reduce their human resource costs as much as 19% using automation.
Your Value Proposition communicates the tangible results you produce for your clients. It differentiates you from competitors and alternatives and also justifies your pricing. Creating a value proposition for your business and each of your solutions represents foundational work that must take place before value can be communicated in any form of messaging.
It is important that you are clear about the value you bring prior to any sales call or encounter. Your value proposition answers the question “Why should this client see me?” in a compelling and tangible way. Clarity in your value proposition will magnify your value and your credibility with prospective clients. It will accelerate your conversations with clients right to the core reasons for doing business with you.
Closing Tip – Your value proposition is mission-critical information that you must have in order to succeed in selling.
In our next post we will discuss how to answer the second of the Three Magic Pre-call Questions: What do I want the client to do?
Until next time!