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Crafting Your Personal Value Proposition


Sometimes called an ‘elevator pitch,’ your Personal Value Proposition, or PVP, should summarize and synthesize the value you provide to Clients and potential Clients. Without providing value, business development can be challenging – and will be based mainly on hope or luck, neither of which is a good strategy.

The reason that value is so important is that, in most cases, people don’t make a decision or choice because they want to. They do so because they need to. There is some pressing concern or challenge that they must address – or there will be consequences. These consequences are the costs associated with not making the choice or decision, also known as the cost of doing nothing. The higher the cost, the more likely, and the more quickly, the decision will be made – and the less important price will often become. So don’t lose a potential Client to decision ‘inertia.’ Give them a reason to make a choice – and make that choice you.

To do this, you have to provide true value. But remember that value is defined by the Client – and each Client or potential Client may define value differently. This is why you will need to ask questions to determine their needs and challenges. Only then can you offer relevant – and valuable – solutions. This is also why you may need to create different PVPs for different types of Clients or prospects. The issues facing a green tech startup can be vastly different from those of established corporations on the verge of layoffs or bankruptcy. The value you can potentially provide will be too.
Clients have a hierarchy of needs. Real value goes to the heart of those that are most imperative and most likely to drive a decision. Some of the most common needs include:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Find money – or credit or funding
  • Reduce costs
  • Reduce inefficiency
  • Increase profitability
  • Save time
  • Resolve conflict
  • Avoid conflict
  • Avoid litigation
  • Avoid fines
  • Avoid negative publicity
  • Avoid negative implications or consequences
  • Identify potential issues
  • Relive pressure or stress
  • Make crucial connections
  • Make critical deadlines
  • Improve processes
  • Enhance production
  • Enhance images
  • Enhance security
  • Protect reputations
  • Protect resources
  • Provide additional resources
  • Shield assets
  • Restructure deals
  • Build value
  • Restore credibility
  • Reduce downtime
  • Reduce uncertainty and the costs associated with it

So in crafting your PVP, think like the Client. Frame the statement in terms of their most pressing needs and convey that you have the knowledge and experience to meet them. To test whether the statements in your PVP convey this type of real value, try this: when you are composing your PVP, at the end of each of potential value statement, insert the words, “… and this should be important to you because” and try to finish the statement. If your ‘because’ is weak, so is your value.

Additionally, try to make your PVP compelling and memorable. Describe something that differentiates you or sets you apart. Discuss unique skills or expertise. Demonstrate passion or enthusiasm for what you do. You may even want to use humor or tell a story – people love stories. Remember, all things being equal, in most cases, people hire people know like and trust. Your PVP is often your first opportunity to convey these characteristics to the prospective Client. It helps to give them a first impression of what it would be like to work with you – and first impressions can be powerful.

A strong value-based PVP can help you to not only demonstrate to a Client or prospect that you understand their unique needs and challenges, it can also help to enhance your credibility and position you as the best solution. Ultimately, when you are able to clearly articulate – and deliver – this type of value, you can – and will – be successful at developing business.

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