If we were to map out all of your product/service offerings alongside those of your
closest competitors it might be shocking how similar they look. Sure, there are some differences. Differences you can see fairly clearly because you live and breathe this stuff every day. But if they were left to figure it out on their own, would the person you are hoping to service with that product see those differences as clearly? Probably not.
In fact people adopt specific strategies when they engage in what they see as potential sales situations to avoid looking like they don't understanding all the subtle differences between offerings or providers. When you're the one out shopping for something and you see the offerings from different providers as being almost the same as far as you can tell, what do you focus on for making your decision? The price likely becomes a key deciding factor. If we don't get the chance to see the additional value one option represents over another, we are forced to focus mostly on price.
Many of you are in the situation where a big part of the additional value you offer comes from you yourself, and/or the organization you represent. Think for a moment about the compliments you hear in the course of doing business. Why do people like dealing with you? How have you been better than their experiences elsewhere? Why do they say they will continue to be loyal to you or your company? You could probably come up with a lengthy 'infomercial' with all that positive feedback. Problem with that infomercial though is that it won't all apply to every future person you engage with, and in fact hearing the stuff that doesn't apply will typically make them start to tune you out.
3 Strategies for Effectively Communicating the Value You Represent
1. Understand your Competitive Advantages, from Their Perspective
Build yourself a Competitive Advantage master list. Don't stop at just what makes your product(s) distinctly awesome. What about you and your organization? Collaborate with your co-workers on building the list.
2. Avoid the "So what" of a One-sided Infomercial
Telling somebody why you're so great can often just leave them thinking "That's nice, but so what?" even if they are smiling and nodding at you. To avoid this we need to take your above list to the next step. For each of your competitive advantages, create a matching list of client problems it would solve. What might they be running into that could be made better by your solution or service? Now we need to find out if the person you are talking to has those problems or dissatisfactions.
3. Make Exploring Added Value Part of Discovery
We know that interviewing properly is required for helping to get the right product. The same is true for helping to pick the right advisor or company to get that product from. Confidence in the product gets created by using good questions to get selecting the solution right. The same confidence is created when we follow the same approach for our competitive advantages. Build yourself a list of questions related to the problems and dissatisfactions you identified in step two that you can then ask in discovery to figure out what added value you might represent to the each person you serve. Lead conversations towards those areas before you get down to presenting a solution.
Discovery conversation example starters for getting into added value:
New connection: "What was it about us that made you decide to come in and learn more?"
Existing relationship: "What is it about working with us have you appreciated the most over the years?"
In the end, it's about leading the conversation to hopefully give them a chance to see all of the value you offer beyond just the thing they are looking at getting.