When your customers hear your sales pitch, see your marketing materials, or see your product promoted somewhere, they always have one big question in mind.
“Why should I care?”
The answer to that is your value proposition. It’s the big benefit your customers will get when they buy from you or use your product.
A good value proposition is an incredible sales tool and a very important aspect of your marketing. It’s also something many building materials companies get wrong.
That’s why I wanted to take some time this week to break it down. First, I want to review a few common mistakes companies make with their value propositions. Then I want to give you a few simple tips for getting it right.
How to Get Value Propositions Wrong
Making Your Value Proposition Too Busy
When a customer asks, “Why should I care?” your first reaction is probably to start drawing up a list of all the great things they could get from your product.
“If you buy from us, you’ll get a product with superior quality that costs less than the luxury brands, has a high fire rating, can make a building feel more comfortable, could save on maintenance costs, in the long run, is highly durable and packaged in fully recyclable materials.”
Did you read that whole sentence? If you did, congratulations – you have a longer attention span than your prospective customers.
Those customers don’t want to carefully read over all the benefits of using your product. Each of those details matter, but they won’t care about them until it’s time to make a final purchasing decision. Before you can get to that point, you have to grab their attention – and you can’t grab your attention without giving them a clear and simple picture of what your product can really do for them.
Marketing materials that list too many benefits end up looking too busy. The customer won’t know what they should focus on, so they won’t really focus on any of it. The same goes for a sales pitch that bombards the customer with all the great things your product can do.
Resist the urge to throw everything and the kitchen sink into your value propositions. Less is more. Instead of a list of benefits, stick to the main advantage of using your product or working with you.
Using a One-Size-Fits-All Value Proposition
Every customer has different priorities. Because of that, your answer to “Why should I care?” shouldn’t be the same for every customer.
“Our product results in significant energy savings” is a great value proposition – for some customers.
Homeowners will definitely be interested in anything that will make their heating costs more manageable. Commercial building owners with massive utility bills will also be keen on products that reduce those expenses.
But general contractors? Energy savings aren’t exactly high on their list of concerns. It probably won’t move the needle with homebuilders, either.
Before recycling the same value proposition over and over, make sure it actually applies to the customers you’re trying to reach. Is it something they truly care about? Is it addressing an issue that’s a priority for them? If not, you need to present them with another value proposition that speaks directly to their needs.
Comparing Yourself to the Other Guys
You have your sights on the competition. You’re keeping tabs on what they’re doing and trying to do it better than them.
Your goal is to beat out the other guys. That’s smart, but it’s not a good value proposition.
You can tell customers that your product is better than the leading brand in your category. You can tell them how you have shorter lead times. You just can’t expect them to really care.
A value proposition is about just that – the value customers will get from your product. The fact that you’re better than the other guys doesn’t really spell that out. Your customers don’t want the bragging rights that come from using the best product on the market. They want real, tangible advantages. That’s what your value proposition should be about.
How to Get Value Propositions Right
Now that you know what to avoid when it comes to value propositions let’s go over a few things you can do to get it right.
Make It Relevant to the Customer
Every customer can appreciate the benefits of using your product. It’s just that some of those benefits will be more relevant to them than the others.
Contractors might be very interested in products that will save them on labor during the construction phase. But that’s not a pressing concern for architects.
You might be able to get a commercial building owner’s attention by talking about your product’s durability. That might not matter so much to residential builders since they expect much lighter wear and tear in their buildings.
That’s why you need a clear idea of which customers you’re trying to reach. You need an understanding of their business and what goals they’re trying to accomplish. That way, you’ll know which value propositions will matter to them and which ones won’t.
Offer Solutions Instead of Benefits
Showing your customer how your product can benefit them is a good move. Showing them what problem it can solve is an even better one.
What are their most pressing problems? Is it keeping up with building codes? Project delays? Kinks in their supply chain?
What is the curve ball they didn’t see coming? Is it the labor shortage? A rapid change in customer expectations?
What are the fires they keep having to put out? You can read more about how to be the water for customers to customers who are on fire here.
If you can solve any of those problems, make that your value proposition. Because taking a pressing problem off their hands isn’t just a nice benefit – it’s something that will make their life easier. And that makes it much more compelling.
If you’re using the same value proposition as your competition, it will be hard for you to stand out.
That’s one of the reasons competing on price is such a bad idea. Not only because it’s a race to the bottom but because there are a dozen companies in every product category offering cheap goods at bargain basement prices.
You want your value proposition to feel unique. At the very least, you don’t want to tell customers something they’ve already heard three times this week.
If most of your competitors are promising easier installation, make your value proposition about waste reduction instead. If they’re boasting about how well their insulating products perform, pitch your customers on your superior customer service.
Having a completely fresh value proposition might not be possible, but you can choose to focus on a benefit that your customer will associate with you and not with three or four other companies.
Show Your Value
You already know that your product would be a valuable asset to your potential customers. The tricky part is helping them see that.
That’s why a clear, concise, and compelling value statement isn’t just a powerful sales tool – it’s an essential one. It makes a strong and immediate case for your product. It doesn’t just tell customers why your product is great. It also shows them why they should care.
You’re in a constant competition for the customer’s attention. In sales and marketing, that attention is a highly valuable commodity. And a good value statement is just what you need to grab it.
Wizard Strategy specializes in helping building materials companies grow their businesses through better understanding of your customers needs. If you’d like to learn more. Schedule a free consultation today.