30-second value-proposition. What is it? How does it work? Can you do it? Yes—three tips.

What is it? – It’s the 30-second value-proposition that creates a suspicion-of-value in the mind of the person with whom you’re talking. It creates enough curiosity that they ask to know more. Once a person has asked for more information you’ve progressed from a pitch to a personalized conversation.

How does it work? – Know your audience and create statements that focus on their problem that you solve, something you know would be of interest to them, and develop questions that invite people to ask for more. I’m on the board of a Christian non-profit organization called Vision House. We serve homeless families with children in Seattle-King County. I recently attended a meeting with other Christian non-profit boards where one of the assignments was to stand up and give a 60-second pitch on what our organization did. I was asked to do our pitch. This was a room full of people who were there because they choose to serve people in need.

I started by asking the group of about 70 people, “Who knows Seattle?” A bunch of hands went up, some Seahawk cheers, and many nice comments about Seattle. I responded saying, “You’re right, Seattle is a beautiful place. It’s the twentieth most populous city in the country—unfortunately it has the third largest population of homeless people.” I said a bit more but by the end of just that statement people wanted to know why, how long, what’s being done, how can we help, etc. I was no longer pitching. We were engaged in a personalized conversation.

Can you do it? – Yes, you can. You know your customers, partners, and other stakeholders. You know what’s of interest to the people you want to sell to. You know the questions that will create a suspicion-of-value such that they ask to know more. You know your customer’s hot buttons—the things that excite them and the things that make them frustrated. With this information, you can develop statements that take 30-seconds or less, that will elicit questions and cause them to share their needs.

Three areas of focus:

  • Surprise – Give them unexpected information such that they ask to know why or how.
    • Seattle has the third largest homeless population in the country behind Los Angeles and New York City.
  • Share – Offer results your company has created that causes them to ask how you did it.
    • Of the families who complete the Vision House program, 82 percent succeed in not returning to homelessness.
  • Shock – Be a little controversial with facts that may seem unbelievable.
    • Many homeless families are led by a single parent who is clean, sober, fully employed but still can’t afford rent and child care.

The non-profit world allows me to tug on some heart strings but 30-second value propositions exist in the profit world and the best business people—not just salespeople—create them by habit. Make it your habit and you’ll turn more prospects into lifelong customers or donors.

©2017 Rick Wong, The Five Abilities® LLC


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