How to Craft a Gold Medal Value Proposition

Value Proposition

The 2014 Winter Olympics are well underway in Sochi and the skill and dedication of the athletes always astounds me.

Olympians are people who have dedicated their lives to mastering a craft in the hopes of achieving success on a grand scale. They’ve rooted their sporting value propositions firmly in blood, sweat, and tears.

These athletes know that if you want to win gold, an important first step is understanding what you need to do to be the best. In the spirit of the Winter Olympics, here are four important steps along the road to crafting a gold medal value proposition.

1. Drill Down to What Makes You Unique

What makes Canadian Olympian Alex Bilodeau unique? He’s one of the best in the world when it comes to skiing moguls. Just moguls. So good in fact that he’s become the first ever to repeat gold in his events, taking home the gold a few days ago in Sochi. Bilodeau is smart enough to understand that while he’s great in the moguls, he’d probably have a snowballs chance in hell of winning a medal in a downhill event. His commitment to a his strengths has been vital to his success. When it comes to startups, a lot of entrepreneurs are typically guilty of trying to be everything to everyone. They try to offer every variety of solution they can to anyone willing to buy. But what typically arises is a situation in which these organizations find it hard to stand out from their competitors. If you’re intent on peaking your prospects interest, you need to focus on the element(s) that make you unique and the things you do better than any of your competitors in the segments or niches in which you wish to compete.

2. Speak in a Client Voice

In the team figure skating competition in Sochi, Kevin Reynolds landed three quad jumps and scored 167.92 points to finish second in the men’s free skate component. I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little about figure skating. If hadn’t seen it live and had the figure skating commentators speaking to me in terms I could understand, I wouldn’t know what a quad jump was or how good of a score 167.92 was. The commentators know that the audience for these games extends beyond figuring skating fans, and speak in more general language to build rapport. As a startup, if you want to make a deeper connection with your prospects, you will need to speak their language too. To be more specific, this means using your prospect’s terminology, and their website can often be a great source of organizational and industry terminology. In addition to the terminology you find, it will be important to present your solution in language that matches your prospect’s positioning. As an example, if your prospect is the VP of Finance, then you will need to brush up on your financial vocabulary and be prepared to talk numbers.

3. Focus on the Prospect’s Pain Points

Prospects aren’t interested in your products or services. What your prospect really wants is to get rid of their pain points and overcome the challenges they face. To capture your prospects interest, frame your value proposition so that it addresses the issue of your prospect’s pain points and how your solution will remedy those pains. If you can solve your prospect’s pains, you’ll earn their business. If you’re unsure how to find your prospect’s pain points, check out 5 easy ways to find customer pain points.

4. Present a Story to Support Your Claims

It’s one thing to claim you’re the best at something; it’s another to back it up with a story. As an example, would it be more convincing to simply say that, “Ekaterina Bobrova is the best female figure skater”, or backing it up with, “Ekaterina Bobrova, the best female figure skater. She was a four time Russian champion and has just added another win by taking home a gold medal in Figure Skating Team & Short Dance at the 2014 Sochi Olympics”. No matter the specifics, a story will add credibility to your claims and help you secure your prospect’s interest, trust, and business.

Test out these four tips when crafting your gold medal value proposition. But don’t think your work is over just yet, sales Olympian. Like any of the athletes in Sochi, before you can become the best you need to train. Flex your sales muscles and train up with our free white paper on an Introduction to Startup Sales.