The best question my boss ever asked me – what’s the value proposition?

by Mike Innes,

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I’ve learnt some great things from my bosses over the years, but by far the best is to clearly define the value proposition for your product or service. At the time I knew it was important but I didn’t recognise just how crucial it is.

So why is it so important?

 Why Value Proposition

 Your value proposition explains why your customers should choose to do business with you, get it right and you create huge competitive advantage.

A strong value proposition has 4 essential elements and is focused on a clearly defined customer segment.

 The customer perspective – their needs and insights in to their needs

  • Benefits which are aligned with your customer’s needs and therefore resonate with them.
  • Why choose you? – sustainable differentiation from your competitors
  • Evidence to justify your claims – why should they trust you?


 But it turns out that developing a strong value proposition is hard, that’s why it’s the best question my boss ever asked me.

 This is how I build the basis for a compelling value proposition:

  • Time with customers – understand their strategy, their problems and what they want to achieve.
    • Talk to customers that buy a lot from you and also those that buy a lot from your competition (even if that is hard to achieve).
    • Approach customers with a view to developing a trusting relationship, you are not always selling.
  • Identify what your customers value, remember that they may not have thought about this in a structured way so you will need to build a picture over time.
    • Understand their urgent problems and opportunities
    • What does their ideal supplier look like (and how do you measure up)?
    • How do they measure success and how can you contribute to this?
    • What effect does your product/service have on their business?
    • What would they like to do but can’t (and why not)?
    • How can you make your customer’s job easier?
    • How can you quantify the value that your solution delivers to your customer?

Gathering this information is a continual process and should be part of everyone’s role, not just sales and marketing. Identify all the customer touch points within your business and make sure everyone understands their role in developing a deeper understanding of your customer.

Remember that people in different roles will see value in quite different ways.

I firmly believe that Value Proposition development needs to be a core business skill so that delivering customer value becomes part of everyone’s role. Find out more at  or even better : Brook Corporate Developments are holding a free 2 hour Value Proposition taster session, come along and see how it can help your business. Enroll here.

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