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The four power steps to the ultimate pitch perfect value proposition

On the surface, value propositions seem incredibly straightforward. But it actually requires a lot of thought, research and market observation to get it right. This messaging needs to clearly and simply explain what your business does for your customers. It doesn’t matter if you’re an independent sales person, an artist, a teacher or a tech start up you are selling and you have a value proposition. The value prop may be stated or unstated, but trust me it’s there. Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk to a few hundred entrepreneurs in Santiago at the LatAm Start Up conference about the four steps to get to the perfect value proposition:

1. Focus


“The great mystery isn’t that people do things badly but they occasionally do a few things well. The only thing that is universal is incompetence. Strength is always specific!” – Peter Drucker


It’s required that you narrow your focus to the where market opportunity meets your strengths in order to create a killer value proposition. Please take a moment to think about that. STRENGTHS ARE ALWAYS SPECIFIC! Creating the pitch perfect value proposition requires a narrow focus on who your buyer is. The number one mistake I see with value propositions is a lack of specificity. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.


“If you chase two rabbits both will escape.”


2. Determine the who and the why.

Your value proposition’s purpose is to convince people of your product’s usefulness and the economic impact of what you do for your customer’s business or for the consumer’s life. Don’t make it complicated.


“What the world needs isn’t a better mousetrap, the world just needs a dead mouse.”


First, think about your value proposition in terms of who and why

The who: The customer we serve is _______.
The why: The situation is _______.


Zendesk – ‘Relationships between businesses and their customers can be hard’.  A great example of who and why.

zendesk (why and who)

3. After you have determined the who and why, you can think about the what and how.

The what: The problem we solve is _______.
The how: We solve this problem by _______.


Fancyhands – ‘Get your time back with our team of virtual assistants’ – a perfect example of what and how

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.23.36 AM

Unbounce – ‘Build, test and A/B test landing pages.’ A perfect example of a what and how value proposition.

unbounce (what and how)

Netflix – ‘Watch TV shows & movies anytime, anywhere.’ – subtly saying who, but more focused on the what and how.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.26.00 AM

4. Look to your consumers for direction.

“What’s the one thing your business stands for at the intersection of what it does and what your customers want it to do?” – Max Valiquette

Think about Max’s quote. What your customers want it to do, not what you think your value is, not what you think the problem you solve is, but what your customers want it to do. Max continues, “you need to express your value proposition in consumer terms, don’t tell me how you describe your business, tell me how your customers would describe it.”

It’s essential to understand the gap between how you are seen and what your business can actually deliver, it has never been more important to pay attention to how the customer is interacting with your product and service. Case in point, I use more vinegar in my house to clean than I use to cook.

What do you think your customer would say is the value, the problem you are solving? A great value proposition makes it clear what problem you solve and for who. It can also address the how and the why as illustrated above.

Building a kick-ass value proposition is hard and there is no magical recipe, you have to write many while at the same time paying attention to how your customers interact with your product. Remember, in its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that describes for whom you do what, uniquely well. It describes your target buyer, the problem you solve, and most importantly why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives.


Tweet me your value proposition, your value prop challenge or an example where you think a company nailed it @morerants and use the hashtag #valueproposition