Is Your Value Proposition Really That Unique?

“So far, I like what I see. Let me look over your proposal in more detail, and then I’ll call you next week.”

In actuality your prospect is really thinking; “This looks the same as the other 4 proposals.”

One of the questions I like to ask is, “What makes you unique?” or, phrased a different way, “Why should I buy from you?” More often than not, I receive one of the following responses:

  • We have a superior product.
  • Our company offers more.
  • No one can match our service.
  • We have been around forever.

Although you may think these are reasons to choose you, they aren’t. First, your competition makes identical claims. Second, there is absolutely nothing specific or quantitative about any of the above statements. Finally, there is nothing that supports any these statements.

Prospects don’t care what salespeople or marketing departments think are important. When they see proposals or hear statements that contain these phrases, it has no positive impact on their decision because there is nothing unique about them. All things being equal, they will choose either the lowest priced competition, or the solution which they trust the most. This is why it’s so hard to oust a current vendor – better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.

Before you can answer “Why should I buy from you?” you need to know how you are uniquely different than your competition. In order to do this, create a side by side spreadsheet comparison.  You should evaluate the following:

Company

  • Are you big or small?
  • Are you safe or innovative?
  • What’s your niche’?
  • Do you have an extensive product line?
  • How does your guarantee compare?

Product

  • Specific Feature(s) – Is there any one particular feature(s) that’s unique? Or, when you consider all the capabilities as a whole, does that make our product unique?
  • Durability – How long is its expected life span? What are the conditions where it will function?
  • Productivity – Is it faster or more efficient?
  • Operating Costs – Are the operating costs lower or higher?
  • Standard Options – What does your product include?
  • Price – Are you more or less expensive?
  • Ease of Use – How long does it take to learn how to use your product?
  • Size and weight – Will it fit into the intended workspace?
  • Noisy versus quiet – What kind of environment is it going in?
  • What is the warranty?

Service

  • Is it included or additional?
  • Is it local?
  • What is the average response time?
  • Are they using OEM or remanufactured parts?
  • Do they specialize?

I’ve managed to come up with numerous areas where you can potentially differentiate yourself. This list is by no means exhaustive, and your side by side comparison will probably be different for each competitor.

Once you have completed a comparison, you then need to determine your strengths and weaknesses versus your competitor. I think you’ll be amazed at how many ways there are to distinguish yourself from your competition. This simple exercise will help you better understand how and when to set up your competition, as well as, who your best prospects are.

Assuming you’ve done your homework and you know your unique capabilities, you still don’t want to answer your prospect’s question immediately. Why? It doesn’t do any good to spout off your differences, if your prospect doesn’t consider it a positive. The next time you’re asked that question, simply respond with, “I’m not sure you should buy from me. Although we have a great product/service, it’s not always the best fit. Let me ask you some questions, so we can both determine if our product/service makes sense.” Not only do you keep from putting your foot in your mouth, but you also just earned significant TRUST points with your prospect. In addition, you’re only providing information that your prospect deems as relevant.

This is also a good time to find out who you’re up against, so you can compare the two. If they won’t provide that information, politely state I’d really like to make sure I’m comparing apples to apples in order to accurately answer your question. My experience is, the less information a prospect is willing to provide, the less likely you are to get the deal.

After you have done a comparison, verified what’s important to your prospect, then it’s time to demonstrate or share how you’re different and worth the investment. If you can’t actually demonstrate your difference, then you should provide supporting material that backs up your claim (testimonials, referrals, quantitative data, polls, etc.).

The better you demonstrate and/or articulate why your prospect should buy from you, the better you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from your competition, and ultimately win more business.

About The Author

Eric Slife started Slife Sales Training, Inc. with his wife Daphne in 1999. Since then, their company has evolved into one of the most extensive and affordable online sales training resources. Sign up for our newsletter today and receive Top 10 Voicemail Blunders, FREE.

by   Mark Christie