Every time someone uses the word “synergy,” a fairy dies.
The business world is FULL of useless terms (jargon) like this – paradigm shift, inflection point, strategize, blue-sky thinking, deep dive, low-hanging fruit, actionable items, take it to the next level. <insert wide-eyed emoji>
My world is ALL about jargon. As a brand strategist (yep, more jargon), it's my job to help clients write (watch out – lots of jargon coming up) Positioning Statements, Purpose Statements, Mission Statements, Sales Pitches, Core Values, Elevator Pitches, and other stuff with fancy titles. Before I start working with them, I review what they have and EVERY TIME it's stuff someone wrote once and put in a document somewhere but never shared with anyone. Few companies LIVE these things. That's where I come in – to make it simpler, easier, and live-able. Less jargon, more human.
Then there's this thing called a “Unique Value Proposition.” Most of us have no idea what this actually means. And even if we do, very few of us can write a good one. A tech client of mine recently asked if I could help their (20,000+!) partners define their Unique Value Propositions (UVP) so they could stand out from the crowd. I'm doing so by rocking a webinar series for them & after putting together the slide decks, I realized – if I can help big tech companies, why not let everyone else benefit?!
HOW TO: Not suck at sharing your
Unique Value Proposition
Let's break it down with less jargon.
SIMPLE DEFINITIONS: with huge props to the Dictionary.
UNIQUE: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
VALUE: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
PROPOSITION: a suggested scheme or plan of action, especially in a business context. OR my favorite: make a suggestion of sexual intercourse to (someone with whom one is not sexually involved), especially in an unsubtle or offensive way.
Speaking of my favorite definition of 'proposition,' let's take this out of a business context and apply it to dating first so it makes sense to everyone. If you want to share your unique value proposition with someone you are attracted to but are not involved with, you'd have to:
make sure you're talking to the right person
clearly show this person you're worth talking to
and let them know what you're looking for from them (except, let's not be offensive)
This will get you a date, which could lead to what you're really after. Got it?
Now let's hit up the business side of things.
Open up your favorite app website (not the app itself) on your phone or laptop. Within 5 seconds, say their benefit to you as a customer out loud. Can you read it quickly? Can you speak it quickly? Is it clear? If you didn't already use this app, would you still want to use it based on what you just said?
More app companies have this Unique Value Proposition thing down compared to the rest of the world.
Now, look at YOUR website.
Within 5 seconds, say out loud YOUR benefit to YOUR customer as it reads on your site. Can you read it quickly? Can you speak it quickly? Is it clear? If you didn't know anything about your own company, would you still want to work there based on what you just said?
To be clear with the jargon & fancy titles, a Unique Value Proposition is NOT the same as a Unique Selling Proposition or an Elevator Pitch.
LET'S COMPARE THESE STATEMENTS:
Elevator Pitch: This shares the basics of who you work with (target market) and how you work with them (services or products offered) in a way that they can almost recite back. It's typically given in-person on the first meeting in 15-30 seconds.
Unique Selling Proposition: This shares why you're different from your competition by telling your customer your specialty, methodology, and guarantee. This usually happens in-person with your potential clients after they know a bit more about you and helps them make their decision to work with you.
Unique Value Proposition: This shares the tangible results of what you do and the value your customers get from you. This is typically used on your website, brochure or can be shared in your marketing.
“So, how do I create one?” I'm so glad you asked!
BASICS OF A GREAT VALUE PROP:
When you're putting together your Value Prop, you want to stick with some basics. This isn't the formula (that's below) but you definitely want to make sure you have these before you put together the proposition itself.
SPECIFICS: This is not the broad picture, these are the numbers, the percentages, the little details. How many, how much, how big, how small – how rockstar are you, specifically. We want the specifics.
RESULTS: Give us the tangible results – exactly who you are helping and how you helped them achieve their goals, what they got out of working with you, and what they'll keep doing because of you.
DIFFERENCE: Tell us why you are better, why you are unique, and why we would love working with you. This gives us a sense for why we shouldn't pick the other guys – but without saying that.
HOOK: Help us sign up, hire you, or get more of you in our lives. Give us a discount for getting started, a “do it now and you'll get…” or an application that shows how exclusive you are.
SIDE NOTE: Do NOT make up value. BE valuable. If you don't have value, create some and live it. Don't be that guy at the bar who tells me all about your awesome life only to find out you live with your mom. NOT cool.
EXAMPLES OF GREAT VALUE PROPS:
Great Value Props are REALLY hard to find so let's make more awesome ones so it's easier to see great examples. Check these two out – and share ones you love so I can add to this.
Check out Gusto.com – Their Value Prop is clear. – they tame the chaos of payroll, benefits & HR. What business wouldn't love that? This is what they do. What you get is tamed chaos. The hook is a month free of services to check them out so they can prove their value to you. There's even a great animated visual to help show you that you can get it all done quickly.
Check out Stripe.com – they let you know right away that they're the new standard in online payments. Crystal clear. They tell you it's the best platform for running an internet business (this is who should use them) and how much money they have helped “forward-thinking businesses around the world” make. Then they show you that you can start right away or chat with them. Easy & clear.
Try it yourself with this formula.
FORMULA FOR A GREAT VALUE PROP:
In order to write a great Value Proposition, start with clarity. Keep this short & sweet. Remember – 5 second read.
1. GRAB ATTENTION: Write an attention-grabbing headline that shows it's worth reading.
2. EXPLAIN YOURSELF: Write a subheadline or quick sentence about how useful this will be to your customers.
3. WEAR YOUR AWESOME: Write a few bullet points about your benefits or the features that are worthwhile to your customers.
4. SHOW THEM: Use some sort of visual or image to convey or add to what you're saying.
WHAT'S YOUR VALUE PROP?
I'd love to have new Value Props to share in my webinars & breakout sessions. Jump into the Kickass Humans Club & share yours with #ValueProp – I'm happy to give feedback if you need it. Or send me a love note & I can help offline.
You have the tools – now rock your Value Prop!