Summit InsightThe Unique Value Proposition is a concise appeal, written in the audience’s language, that focuses on their needs, problems, issues, etc. Here’s how to develop it — and why you might want several!Let’s start with a lesson from NGrain, a 75-person military training company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company was recently listed among the top 100 military training suppliers to the United States.
How did they do it? Great technology wasn’t enough. “We also had to learn to talk in their language, not ours,” explained Gabe Batstone, then Vice President, Business Development & Professional Services. He recounts describing their solution to a senior U.S. military officer as offering “improved comprehension.”
“He said, ‘Son, what’s that mean?’” recalls Batstone. “We put away our marketing brains, asked our clients what they wanted to hear, and shut up and listened. We had to turn our language and solutions into solving their problems with their metrics.”
So how well do you walk your talk? I wondered. “Tell me in one sentence what NGrain does,” I asked Gabe. His answer was immediate.
“Our interactive 3D maintenance training aids allow people who maintain and repair military equipment to accelerate learning in complex equipment and enable first-time-right repairs and optimize operational readiness at a lower cost.”
That’s a Unique Value Proposition:
- A concise appeal, written in the audience’s language, that focuses on their needs, problems, issues, etc.
The Keys to Developing a Great Unique Value Proposition
A great UVP creates interest so you can talk — that is, it opens the door so someone might be willing to meet with you, says Scott Lewis, principle at PSPartnerships in Falls Church, Va. It does this by communicating how and why you stand out and by emphasizing the value you deliver, as distinct from your competition.
As you develop your UVP, you’ll do three valuable things:
- Determine areas of focus, such as business problems you solve best or solutions you best support.
- Use those areas of focus to create a profile you can use to determine your strongest prospects — both among ultimate customers as well as systems integrators that could be potential partners.
- Narrow your selection of those you approach, which in turn makes it easier to:
* Get in front of the right people.
* Get the right meeting.
* Communicate your value to the buyer and/or systems integrator (why should they spend time with you?).
* Present what you’re doing and how it captures the integrator’s interest.
But It’s Not All Easy
Here are some things to keep in mind as you hone your UVP and contact prospective customers. Be honest about how you fit into the marketplace. Every company has problems and weak spots, so own up to yours.
Focus first on the audience and their problems/issues, not on your technology. And, use their language, not yours.
Follow through on your UVP efforts. Be realistic about what you can actually deliver.
Once you start, be committed to the effort to create and deliver a UVP to stakeholders. In Lewis’ experience, “If you spend money on this process, you’re more likely to follow it through to a conclusion.”
Expressing your value in terms of what it means for the client. For example:
- We Support … you.
- We Develop … for you.
- We Provide … what you’re looking for.
Some companies hire someone to lead a $20,000 to 30,000 process to create Unique Value Proposition statements that they use to ensure consistent communications to the marketplace, as well as internally. Others do it themselves.
Either way, your goal in creating a UVP is to relate your technology or offering to a business problem or issue that you help solve, and then communicate that connection to your targeted audiences or stakeholders.