You are responsible for understanding and articulating, in language everyone can understand, how your core capabilities, your products, your services, your platforms, your intellectual property, provide value to your colleagues, your organization, and your clients. (from Do YOU Mean Business?, p 61)
Keep it simple and succinct, please.
No matter how many degrees or certifications you have earned. No matter where you teach. No matter how many fantastic deals you have closed. No matter how super-duper you feel your entrepreneurial idea is. No matter how complex you think what-it-is-you-do.
If I don’t understand what you and your product, service, or venture are all about, I won’t contract for it, buy it, fund it, or give you my time.
Have you ever thought about you and your product, service, or venture from the customer’s / investor’s perspective?
Your parents and family (FFF or, in venture capital speak, Friends, Family and Fools) may be diplomatic as they throw more bootstrap money in your direction and tell you, “Well, that’s nice, dear.” Perhaps you became an unintentional entrepreneur and are now trying to build your business. Your colleagues and customers may tell you: “OK, I’ll think about it and let you know what I think.” Except they never do take the time to think about it and certainly don’t get back to you. Your employers may tell you: “We’ll see how that fits into next year’s budget.” Which means they put your idea on the farthest back burner in the nether reaches of the furthest business cosmos they have in their arsenal.
Because they not only don’t “get” what you do. They also don’t “get” how what you do helps them generate revenue. Because that’s what they want, and need, for you to do for them.
Just get down to the point of what it is – that tangible benefit I will receive – from doing business with you. Why is working with you valuable to your customers and funders, in helping them build their businesses.
How does working with you translate into my bottom line? Not so easy, is it?
The more words you throw into your pitch or product/service/platform deliverables will not make what you are selling more attractive, lofty, intellectual, or valuable. It’s just a whole lot more verbiage to slog through.
People don’t have time to slog through lots of words. Especially when the words you’ve chosen appear to dance around the meat and potatoes of the subject.
How does working with you translate into my bottom line?
The meat and potatoes is all about what you can do for them. It’s not about how great you and your idea or product is. It’s not about requiring them to think about how they can use your services in their organization.
They don’t want to have to Think; they want to Do. Connect the dots for them. Make their decision to fund or purchase you and your venture the obvious conclusion for them to reach.
Serve them a meal, not an abstract conversation that leaves your customers and funders feeling up in the air about taking action.
Give them something solid. Something they can chew on. Something they readily envision making their business lives more rewarding.
What’s your value proposition? I bet it’s delicious.
Babette Ten Haken provides technical people and other sellers a solid strategy for how to explain a product, its benefits, and its value in ways that buyers can easily understand and sellers can comfortably present. She gets people together who are often on opposite sides of the table, like engineers and sales people or entrepreneurs and investors. Her company, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, works with technology-intensive entrepreneurs and manufacturers, focusing on revenue-generating business development strategies to take your business to the next level. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? was named 2012 Finalist, Top Sales & Marketing Awards.