Growing Your Business and Building Your Career with a Value Proposition

As a business owner, agent, advisor, employee, or job seeker, you have most likely heard the term value proposition thrown around in many different contexts. An agreed upon definition of a value proposition does not exist across business and marketing materials, experts, and consultants. Some approaches to creating and interpreting a value proposition are very technical and others are somewhat loose. In fact, you might even be using a value proposition and not even know it. When done correctly, a value proposition can help you grow your business and build your career. This blog provides information about value propositions and more specific information about how you can apply them to your business and personal goals.

What Is a Value Proposition?

From a rudimentary standpoint, your value proposition refers to the value you will provide to a client, employer, or even a recruit, how you will provide that value, and why your approach distinguishes you from others. Those who view them from a more technical and mathematical standpoint assert that a value proposition is the benefits of your product or labor minus the costs, which may also include financial risks as well.

Strong mission statements and even some slogans might serve as a value proposition when they include all of the elements. Yet, don’t confuse kitschy slogans and trite buzzwords as value propositions. Instead, think of them as an “elevator pitch”. If you had 30 seconds with a key decision-maker, client or potential recruit in an elevator, what things would you tell them to demonstrate your or your product or opportunity’s value?

When you post a value proposition on your website, brochure, or marketing material, you have about five seconds to visually communicate your message to readers.

Business Value Propositions

Your business value proposition is an important, maybe the most crucial part of your branding message to potential clients. You are telling prospects why they should buy your product or use your service in a cogent and succinct manner.

Elements of a Business Value Proposition

Exact elements of a business value proposition might vary based on whether you are selling insurance, advising on investments or both. They might also differ if you are selling one product or an agent/advisor who deals with multiple insurance companies and multiple financial instruments. Here are some things the you need to include in your value proposition in one form or another:

– A powerful, clear headline communicating your value to clients

– A two or three-sentence sub-header which expands on the headline and offers a specific example of your distinctiveness

– Highlighted features and/or benefits through the use of bullet points or another format, as long as they are concise and easy to read

-An image to reinforce your message and draw in your reader

Purpose of a Business Value Proposition

As you write or revise a value proposition, keep in mind its specific purposes, which are

– Highlight the relevance of your product/service and show how it solves your client’s problem

– Show specific benefits of your product/service, especially those which you can

– Set you apart from your competition and tell your prospective clients why they
should work with you

Evaluating Your Business Value Proposition

Ensure you have a strong business value proposition by asking the following questions:

– What product or service am I providing to my clients?

– What are the ultimate benefits for my clients, and how does my company/service
solve their problem?

– Who is my target audience?

– What distinguishes my company/service from others?

Personal Value Propositions for Management Team Members

When insurance agencies, investment brokers, and other financial service-related firms and companies need to hire new agents or advisors, many will have each of their management team members create a personal value proposition to demonstrate and explain how their role will help guide and develop a recruit. Creating a personal value proposition helps answer the question: Why should I join you instead of another opportunity?

Like business value propositions, personal value propositions must be
concise and well-written in order to be effective, and you should use the same format
and elements as a business value proposition. Here are some tips for developing your
personal value proposition:

– Identify a target candidate. Are you looking for a specific type of recruit? Are you seeking a recent college grad who is looking to break into the financial services industry?  Are you looking for an experienced candidate or career changer from a specific industry or occupation? How does your role impact their opportunity for success? Although you can create a generic personal value proposition to use anywhere, it’s in your best interest to tailor your message to your target audience in order to create a more powerful message.

– Evaluate your strengths. Identify the positive characteristics and exceptional skills which you have developed, through education and experience.

– Link your strengths to the value you deliver. Your personal value proposition must not only outline your strengths but demonstrate how your strengths translate into value for a potential recruit. Identify how being part of your organization has made it possible to achieve this knowledge and experience. For example, you can list your accomplishments in your role, but be sure to show how this is of value to a candidate. You must focus on how your skills will help the recruit both develop and grow their individual practice, identify and build a clientele, increase their overall revenue and success rate.

– Be ready to present evidence. You might not have the room in a cover letter or brochure to provide success stories and evidence to support your claims, but you’ll need to be able to add or share quantifiable facts. You, at the very least must be able to share success stories, awards, and accolades during a meeting to demonstrate that you’re capable of providing the value which you promise. Be careful, however, not to embellish your accomplishments, numbers or make over-the-top claims. If a candidate accepts your offer and you don’t live up to your promises, you will likely find them to be back on the job market. Honesty is always the best policy.