One point which I don’t think I have made often enough here is the actual definition of “prospecting.” Prospecting is the continuous activity of exploring for and qualifying new people to meet and talk with concerning your business. This definition applies whether you are seeking new customers or a new employer. Everybody prospects.
There are several important points to this definition, one of which is the idea of meeting with new people. Well, to this end, you must give people a reason to want to meet with you.
For many, this can be the most challenging step. For others, it’s the easiest. But the first task here is to honestly and inwardly examine the VALUE you offer to others.
This is not just a challenge—it’s a task that presents an opportunity to talk and listen to your current or past clients (or employer). The truth is this: you don’t determine your value; your clients do. Every client (and prospect) values something different—although they will likely have much in common as well. List out your top five or six clients, and invite them for a cup of coffee and a conversation. Then, your job is to find out what they value, why, and use that as a foundation for:
- improving or optimizing what you offer, and
- building a true value proposition that gives prospects a reason to want to have a conversation with you
Let’s review item number two again. This is what it all comes down to. This is what a value proposition is, in its simplest form: Your prospects must have a reason to want to have a conversation with you. They have to feel as though they have more to potentially gain than they do to lose by giving up 20 minutes of their precious time.
In most cases, your value proposition must be tied to your prospect’s objectives. Your product or service must, in some way, either increase revenue, reduce costs, or both. Either one is tied to one thing: profits.
So, how are you going to achieve this? How are you achieving this right now for your present clients? It may be direct or indirect. You may not be the cheapest in selling and delivering office supplies, but your customers value your service and time saved in fulfillment. Or, perhaps you provide access to a particular niche of products that help your customers do business profitably.
And if your prices or fees are competitive, that opens the door to forging a business relationship that can lead to delivering higher-margin products and/or services. It is about leveraging prosperous relationships for every piece of potential value you can deliver to your clients!
When talking with clients, you may find that different people value different things. In professional services, such as insurance, investing, accounting, real estate, health and wellness, and multiple others, value is most often found in trusting relationships.
In business-to-business relationships, do not underestimate this dynamic in how it impacts your client’s profit margin. In fact, just three or four testimonials on how your service makes a business-owner or executive’s work life easier and more successful is a powerful value proposition. Saving time, reducing stress and anxiety, or helping your clients provide better service to their customers is worth its weight in gold!
So for our purpose here, your value proposition is your prospect’s REASON to WANT to have a conversation with you. It is your job to give them that reason.