The Epidemic of Weak Value Propositions

If you’re selling to the corporate market, one of the biggest challenges you encounter is getting face time with decision makers.

Stressed Out Buyers

Corporate buyers, after years of continual downsizing and reorganization, have way too much work to do and not nearly enough time to do it in. Under constant pressure to deliver “results,” they zealously protect their schedule, refusing to meet with anybody who can’t help them achieve their business objectives.

Busy decision makers screen all callers, using an administrative assistant as a gatekeeper or their ubiquitous voicemail. And, if you’re selling something – you’re an undesirable interruption. Customers don’t have time to update you on their company, sit through an extended needs analysis or explore the possibilities of working together.

They don’t want to learn about your products or services just so they can know what’s out there. With every Rand they spend being scrutinized by higher-ups, wasting money on frivolous products or nice-to-have services is out of the question. So unless something can be cost-justified and provide a significant return on their investment, they don’t want to take time to hear about it.

Not only that, but they’re also bombarded with people and companies trying to get their attention. It’s not unusual for corporate decision makers to average over 100 emails per day. Their voice mailbox is flooded with calls from co-workers, customers and outside vendors.

And what do they usually hear from people like you who are trying to get in and sell their products or services? A typical phone message sounds like this:

“Hi Mr./Ms. Decisionmaker. This is Tony from Super Duper Products, Inc. We specialize in leading-edge financial software applications and have been rated as having one of the best software by Krumstock Research.

“The reason I’m calling is that I’d like to set up an appointment with you to introduce myself and to tell you more about how we might be able to help your company speed up your reporting capabilities.

“I’ll be in your area in two weeks and was hoping to sit down with you for about a half hour. Please let me know if that will work for you. My number is …”

Why in the world would corporate decision makers take time out of their already overcrowded schedule to meet with this seller? They wouldn’t. Pure and simple. Even though the seller mentioned a benefit, it was weak – very weak.

Ineffective and Unappealing

One of the biggest reasons businesses struggle in today’s market is because they have weak value propositions. Over and over again, I hear people who sell deliver ineffective statements about the value customers get from working with their organization. It doesn’t matter if these sellers are from big companies, small firms, or are independent professionals. They just aren’t saying things that get prospective buyers to say, “Come on in. We need to meet.”

And the worst thing is that many of the products or services these people sell have extremely high value to corporate accounts! But their failure to articulate it in words that appeal to corporate decision makers is their downfall. Instead, they limp along trying to drive sales but unable to even get in the door.

For example, in discussing their company’s products, many people use weak value propositions such as:

  • It’s the most technology-advanced system in the market today.
  • We offer the most robust enterprise system with the widest range of capabilities available.
  • Our system was rated best-in-class at the recent Big Deal Conference.
  • We are the low-cost provider of this kind of product/service.
  • We offer one-stop shopping.
  • We have a full range of products to meet your every need in the manufacturing area.

Service firms and independent professionals often say:

  • I’m an OD consultant. I do team building and process re-engineering.
  • We design brochures, web sites, and packaging materials.
  • We help improve creativity and innovation in organizations.
  • I do sales training.
  • I help companies decide which technology best meets their needs.
  • I’m an attorney. I do corporate tax work.

BORING! If you’re like most people, you’re saying, “So what? Why should I waste my valuable time talking to you?”

Plus any time people hear words such as best, leading, superior and so on – they immediately dismiss them as self-promoting aggrandizement. These words are simply not believable and detract from your message.

So now that you know what doesn’t work, it’s time to figure out what does attract the attention of busy corporate decision makers.

That’s it for today. Remember to check back next week for more in this thrilling series!