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Strengthening Your Value Proposition to Avoid the Discount Trap

Constantly discounting? Your Value Proposition may need work. Does it meet these criteria?

The Pitch
Discounting can be a slippery slope that not only erodes margins but can also diminish the perceived value of your product or service. A strong value proposition is your first defense against the discounting dilemma. It's the core of your competitive advantage, the promise you make to your customers that differentiates you from the rest. As Philip Kotler, a renowned marketing author, states, "A powerful value proposition is an essential tool that can help you win new customers, keep old ones, and differentiate yourself from the competition." Let's dissect the criteria that make up a robust value proposition and how it can steer you away from the need to discount.

In your customer's voice? Or yours?
The most compelling value propositions are those articulated in the customer's voice. This means using language and points of reference that resonate deeply with your customer's desires and pain points. It's not about what you think they need; it's about what they tell you they need. In "Building a StoryBrand" by Donald Miller, the concept of positioning the customer as the hero and your company as the guide is emphasized. By framing your value proposition in the customer's voice, you make them the central character of the story, with your product or service playing a supporting role that helps them overcome their challenges.

Specific to each stakeholder?
A one-size-fits-all value proposition is unlikely to hit the mark with every stakeholder. Each decision-maker has unique concerns and priorities. The CFO is looking at the numbers, the CTO is considering the technical fit, and the end-users are thinking about usability. "The New Solution Selling" by Keith M. Eades suggests tailoring your communication to address the specific needs of each stakeholder. This specificity can make your value proposition more relevant and persuasive, reducing the need for discounting as a selling point.

Tangible & Measurable.
Your value proposition should clearly articulate the tangible and measurable benefits your customers will receive. This could be in terms of time saved, revenue increased, costs reduced, or efficiency gained. According to "Value Proposition Design" by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, the more quantifiable and concrete your value proposition is, the easier it is for the customer to see the real-world impact of your offering. When customers can see the numbers and understand the ROI, the need for discounting diminishes.

Complexity is the enemy of clarity. A value proposition that is too complex or filled with jargon will lose your audience's attention. In "Made to Stick" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, simplicity is identified as one of the key factors in making ideas memorable and effective. Your value proposition should be easy to understand and communicate, allowing it to be easily shared within the customer's organization.

Finally, your value proposition should be impactful. It should speak to significant outcomes that align with your customers' strategic objectives. In "Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, the authors argue that the most successful companies don't compete head-to-head with their rivals on price; instead, they redefine the value they offer to customers. An impactful value proposition demonstrates how your solution can help the customer make strides towards their long-term goals, not just short-term fixes.

So What?
A well-crafted value proposition is essential for sales success and can be the antidote to constant discounting. It should be in the customer's voice, specific to each stakeholder, tangible, simple, and impactful. By meeting these criteria, you can shift the conversation from price to value.

Next Steps
✅ Reframe value in the customer's voice.
✅ Tailor to each stakeholder.
✅ Quantify benefits.
✅ Simplify the message.
✅ Focus on impact.

Closed Won!
Discounting is often a sign that your value proposition isn't hitting home. How do you craft a value proposition that reduces the need for discounting and emphasizes the value? Let's discuss and share insights on crafting value propositions that truly resonate with customers.

Leave a comment or question below, let's help each other, and our reps move those deals to "Closed Won!"

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