Whether you sell to clients directly or you sell to general contractors, it is imperative that you understand the unique value you offer and communicate it clearly, concisely, and persuasively. You do so with a unique value proposition (UVP)
Your UVP identifies the reason your prospect should hire you instead of anyone else. It's the reason your client should pay more for your services.
Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of value propositions, allow me to share a story from my old engineering days that demonstrates why knowing and communicating your UVP is so impactful to your bottom line.
I worked for a couple of engineers who believed almost anything our clients told them (your price is too high) and were somewhat clueless about why our clients truly hired us. Like most engineers, they believed we were hired due to the quality of our designs. Yeah, right.
While pursuing my MBA, a marketing professor encouraged my class to ask our clients why they purchased our goods and services. So, I did.
I learned that our firm had a reputation for never missing a deadline. We would not miss a deadline no matter how late documents were sent to us. Apparently, we were one of the only firms in town that was insanely committed to meeting our clients' deadlines.
After learning my firm's unique value, I decided to find out whether my bosses were aware of it. So, I caught them after work one day and casually asked them why our clients hired us.
They figured our clients hired us because we were the lowest price. Turns out they hadn't ever asked our clients for the answer and our clients hadn't gone out of their way to tell Tom and Bob the real reason. If Tom and Bob knew we were the only MEP in town that met deadlines, they would have been positioned to raised our prices.
And that's the point of my story. When you're aware of your UVP, you create the opportunity to raise your prices.
Crafted properly, your UVP will carry influence with your clients, prospective clients, employees and prospective employees.
Yes. Your UVP helps you internally (employees) as well as externally (customers).
Let's break the term down.
Unique: Your business is the only one that has it.
Value: A benefit of great meaning to your customer.
Proposition: A promise.
There are three key points to understand about UVPs:
- You cannot be all things to all people.
- You must live up to your promised value proposition.
- You need to come up with a catchy way to express your UVP.
You Cannot Be All Things to All People
You have many different ways you can be different than your competition. Here are ten of the most obvious ones:
- Always on time
- Great communication
- Pain-free punch out
- Post project access and troubleshooting
- Training / education
- Budget assistance
- Creative solutions
- Best price
- Highest quality
Clients have many different needs and many different reasons for selecting their contractor. Finding ones that match your UVP closely is critically important.
By necessity, your UVP will niche your business. It's just part of the deal.
A UVP that is all things to all people is not a UVP. It is too broad, too general. It will lack punch and effectiveness.
Your UVP needs to be specific which forces you to find your niche and stick to it. Diversification is for Fortune 500 companies. Focus is the magic word for small businesses.
Let me give you an example of marketing focus from our coaching practice. Guy and I know that our solutions and skill training will benefit just about every business. That leaves the market wide open for our services, right? Not really.
We know better than to chase the wide open market. Marketing ourselves as generic business coaches for the masses (like most do) would leaves us in a "me too" position. Watered-down message and too much competition.