How to Write a Value Proposition and the 5 Reasons Why You Need One
Regardless of whether you call it a unique value proposition (UVP), a unique selling proposition (USP), or a unique selling point (also USP), the tactical advantages and benefits it creates for your business make it a must-have.
A value proposition will:
- Identify your ideal client.
- Pinpoint the problem you solve.
- Distinguish you from others who provide the same service or product.
- Enable you to charge higher fees.
- Ensure you keep your focus on your clients and their needs.
With so many benefits to be had from a value proposition, Luke and Josh share four tips for how to develop one for your business and use it to generate more leads. Listen to the episode and you’ll get all the details for how to:
- Decide who your ideal client is.
- Link your strengths and the value of your product or service to their desires and/or needs.
- Differentiate yourself by using Marty Neumeier’s idea of onlyness and his formula, “Our brand is the only [blank] that [blank].”
- Use your value proposition to promote your business and guide decisions.
Here, we’ll focus on the benefits to you and your business that a well-defined value proposition offers.
You attract only the clients you want to serve
Often called your ideal client, it’s a representation of who you want to work with. A well-crafted value proposition makes it very easy for prospects to self-select whether they fit the description (or not).
You might be thinking, “Why would I want prospects to think I can’t help them? I want as many clients as I can get!”
No. You. Don’t.
If you buy and sell luxury homes, you don’t want prospects who are looking for homes in the $200,000—$250,000 range calling you and taking up your valuable time.
Similarly, if your passion is to help fresh college grads plan for their financial futures, then you don’t want presidents, CEOs, and other HNW clients inviting you to lunch (except if it’s lunch at the Ritz-Carlton, then maybe).
You get the idea.
Create a representation of your ideal client and then stick to serving that type of client.
If you’d like help in creating a profile of your ideal client, then listen to Episode 212 where Luke and Josh explain how.
You’ll be able to explain exactly what you do
You’ve heard of an elevator speech—that 30-second statement that explains what you do to someone who has no idea.
It’s an important thing to have at the ready because 1) you never know who might ask; 2) you never know if the person asking could be a viable lead; 3) graciously and confidently telling someone what you do in a succinct way gives your credibility a HUGE boost; 4) people don’t have a lot of time or attention for anything that isn’t important to them.
This is where Neumeier’s onlyness statement can help: “Our brand is the only [blank] that [blank].”
Start by defining the category your business belongs to and what you do. Then, once you have this basic statement, continue to refine it to include elements that further narrow your specialty. Keep working with it until you become the only business occupying what might be a newly defined niche.
Take this example from Neumeier’s book, Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands:
Wheat Montana Farms is . . .
WHAT: The only wheat distributor
HOW: that sells grind-it-yourself wheat in stores
WHO: for serious home bakers
WHERE: in the United States
WHY: who want fresh-ground flour for baking
WHEN: in an era of growing interest in “slow food.”
When you hear someone roll that off their tongue, you’ll immediately think, “Wow!” and ask to know more, or “Not for me.” Either way, you know who you are, what you do, and who you do it for.
You’ll distinguish yourself from the other guys
By definition, a well-honed value proposition with this degree of detail makes you a rarity, even if others offer the same or similar product or service.
You may be in the same category as other businesses, but once you start to answer the journalistic questions of who, why, where, etc., and increasingly narrow your focus, you’ll distinguish yourself from all the others.
You’ll command more cha-ching
It’s the law of supply and demand. When there is a demand for something that is in short supply, they’ll pay more for what they need.
This is why you must clearly find a problem that only you can solve better than anyone else. When someone has an urgent problem that must be solved now, and you market yourself as one of the few experts who can solve it, the price won’t matter.
And here’s a tip: the higher the price, the more perceived value there is in what you are providing.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more.
You’ll be able to keep your eye on the ball
When you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, you typically won’t have the luxury of picking and choosing your clients. You’ve got to get experience, pay the bills, start to make a name for yourself, and discover what you’re really good at and enjoy doing the most. You’ll generally need to work with anyone willing to give you a shot.
But once you get going, a perfected value proposition will make your life much easier.
You’ll be able to avoid the distractions caused by “shiny object syndrome” and focus your attention on who you serve and how.
- Before you can write a value proposition, you need to know your ideal audience and the problem your service/product solves.
- A good value statement will:
- attract the clients you want to work with,
- increase client loyalty,
- enable you to charge higher fees,
- ensure you focus on your client and their needs.
- Marty Neumeier’s concept of onlyness and his template statement can help you differentiate yourself from your competition in a way that defines your category, how you are different, who your clients/customers are, where they are, when they need you, and why you are important.
Develop your value proposition using Marty Neumeier’s formula: Our brand is the only [blank] that [blank]. Then flesh it out by defining your category, how, who, where, when, and why.
Connect | Resources
- Book: Marty Neumeier, Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands.
- Throwback episode: Why Every Salesperson Needs a Unique Selling Proposition (Episode 18)