Make Your Proposition 10 Times More Powerful!


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Being heard over the competition in a crowded marketplace takes a special type of message. This whitepaper presents research on why some seller messages get heard, while most others don't. It shows you how you can make your proposition up to 10 times more powerful.

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Make Your Proposition 10 Times More Powerful!

  1. 1. Special Report: $4.99How To Make Your Proposition:10 Times More Powerful! “10 times more powerfulBeing heard over the competition in a crowdedmarketplace takes a special type of message. propositions by monetizing andThis white paper presents research on why some seller validating them!”messages get heard, while most others dont.It shows you how you can make your proposition up to 10times more powerful.
  2. 2. Analyzing Your Benefits − A Practical AssessmentWe wanted to understand the state of health of the modern salesproposition. So we asked approx. 200 sales people to list the top 5benefits of their products, or solutions. Then using a clever yet simpleformula we tested their appeal to todays more demanding buyers.We asked these 200 sales people to list their benefits. They readilyobliged.Keeping the list to the Top 5 was a bit of a challenge as thetemptation to add a sixth, or seventh to the list was great. But,how powerful were the benefits listed? Well, the overall resultswere somewhat disappointing.Most of the benefits listed failed critical strength and credibilitytests. That is because while listing benefits is easy, quantifying andvalidating them was not.Test The Strength Of Your BenefitsThe strength of a benefit is measured in terms of its impact, or appeal.A strong benefit grabs the prospects attention. It is heard over thenoise and is likely to be remembered.How to measure the strength of a benefit? Well, as the table shows itis pretty straight-forward: Benefit Strength How It Is Communicated? Weak Verbalized It is expressed in adjectives (e.g. delivers major savings). Medium Quantified It is expressed with numbers, or percentages (e.g. 3 times faster). Strong Monetized It is expressed in the dollars, euro and pounds (e.g. cuts costs from 26c to 2c per tonne).P a g e |2© The ASG Group 2012
  3. 3. The key point is a proposition with numbers is much more powerfulthan one with just words. However, if our sample is anything to go by3 out of 5 benefits contain no numbers, just words. That means theycan be classified as weak.That is not to say that an un-measured (or un-measurable) benefitdoes not have any value. It may well have, but it does have less valueparticularly to the business managers and bean-counters who controlspending.IDEAS: Making It Work For YouMake your message compelling by capturing a before & after measureof how your customers benefit from your product/service.Why Verbal Benefits Are WeakThere are many reasons why verbal benefits are weak:There is a great sameness when it comes to the language used bymost companies. Indeed, the so-called competing suppliers were “A quantifiedalmost indistinguishable – it is like the same person wrote most of thewebsites and brochures commented one buyer after completing a benefit has amarket analysis. higher chance ofOne problem is that adjectives are used to describe things that are grabbing thenot necessarily important to the buyer – such as patented, buyers attention.”proprietary, or award-winning. This is an example of the focus onnarrowly defined competitive advantages that describe the supplierand his or her solution rather than the benefits that will accrue to thebuyer from their use.P a g e |3© The ASG Group 2012
  4. 4. Even if the benefits attempt to describe the results the buyer willachieve they can be immediately nullified by theuse of terms such as major savings, significantreduction, or dramatic increase. For the buyersuch language hints that you dont reallyknow, or are afraid to publish the actualnumbers.When a benefit is quantified it has a muchhigher chance of grabbing the buyersattention. So it makes sense to put the numberright up there in the headline. Whether thereader believes the number or not is a separatematter, but you have got their attention.Any quantifiable measurement of the benefit(e.g. a 25% increase) is better than none.However, the most effective way tocommunicate a benefit is to monetize it. That isto express it in Euros, Dollars, or Poundsmoney. That means expressing your solution interms of how it will impact on the buyers bottom line.IDEAS: Making It Work For YouYou have probably noticed how buyers have an annoying habit ofreading the last page of your proposal first. However, the price page isoften the only place that there are numbers to be found. Our advice isto write the last page first, bringing the monetary benefits of yoursolution right up front.P a g e |4© The ASG Group 2012
  5. 5. The Hierarchy Of Quantifiable BenefitsQuantifying benefits makes them much stronger. But, there are manydimensions of a product or service that can be quantified. Some areinherently more interesting or important to buyers than others. Theyare ranked from highest to lowest below:1. Business Impact/Results – these directly communicate the resultsthe buyer will achieve (e.g. cuts costs by $250.000). To be compellingas compelling as possible a before & after comparison iscommunicated.2. General Benefits – this is typically the advantages of buying theproduct (e.g. cuts time to market by 25%) in a form of a long list thatcan go from the general to the specific.3. Competitive advantages – these communicate more what thesupplier considers to be points of differentiation over competitors(e.g. fastest solution on the market).4. Features – these tell about the product and how it works, ratherthan the benefits to the customer (e.g. 3 times greater screenresolution).IDEAS: Making It Work For YouThere are two sides of the brain, the right hand side deals withpictures and emotions and the left hand side deals with numbers andfacts. Look at your benefits list – and see what side of the brain theyappeal to. Are you appealing to only half the buyers brain? List the parts of your proposition that appeal to the buyers left (logic,numbers, details, etc.) and right (emotional, pictures, emotions, etc)side of the brain.P a g e |5© The ASG Group 2012
  6. 6. Struggling To Quantify Your Benefits?Here are some tips on strengthening your proposition. If it cannot be quantified directly then: o Find the associated, or proxy variable that can be measured. o Go back and re-define it so that it can. For example define improved customer satisfaction in terms of % increase in number of customers who say they are satisfied, or very satisfied in the annual customer survey. If you dont have numbers use industry averages, published statistic, or simply rules of thumb. Present your quantifiable benefits in terms of a before and after – that is contrasting the situation before and after your product/solution is used. State the assumptions underlying any quantifiables clearly and allow buyers the prospect of calculating their own benefits. Inevitably some benefits cannot be quantified. If this is the case emotionalize them instead (e.g. by using more powerful/emotive language).IDEAS: Making It Work For YouReplace those adjectives that dominate the marketing vocabulary,such as industry-leading, superior, user-friendly, significantsavings, etc. with quantifiable statements as to how the buyer willbenefit.P a g e |6© The ASG Group 2012
  7. 7. The 2nd Dimension Of Proposition Power: CredibilityThe strength of your proposition is one key dimension of its power.But a strong benefit is of little value unless it is believed. Credibility istherefore the second dimension upon which we measure the power, “A strongor effectiveness of a proposition. benefit is of littleThere are many factors that determine just how believable your value unless it ismessage is. However, the credibility of what is said depends on whosays it. That is whether: believed...”  You say it  An experts says it  Customers themselves say it.How to measure the credibility of a benefit, or proposition? Again it ispretty straight-forward, as the table shows: Benefit Who Communicates It Credibility Weak You say it. The claims are made by your marketing and you expect customers to take you at your word. Medium An experts, or other Your claims are backed authority says it. up/endorsed by an expert, or recognized authority (e.g. certification body). Strong Your customers say it. Your customers relate their own direct experience of your company either in quotes, references, or case studies.P a g e |7© The ASG Group 2012
  8. 8. Most buyers dont take vendor claims too seriously. They have heardit all before – the promises, pitches and proposals – and have learnedto be cynical of vendor self-praise. They would rather hear what youcustomers have to say – it is a lot more credible and indeed relevant.IDEAS: Making It Work For YouWant to stop your marketing brochures going into the bin?Well, write them in the form of customer case studies instead. Letyour customers do the bragging for you.The words of your customers are much more powerful than all of yourmarketing. Just how powerful depends on a number of factors:  Whether the customer is a peer, or somebody that they can relate to, or aspire to given factors, such as; size, profile, industry sector, markets served, etc.  Whether it is attributed, or anecdotal in nature. This depends on whether the customer is named, or unnamed. The first is obviously the most important but it is not always possible.  The medium used, for example a case study telling the story of their success and the role your product/solution played. Or it might be just a quotation from the customer.P a g e |8© The ASG Group 2012
  9. 9. IDEAS: Making It Work For YouIt is hard for the buyer in a large bank to get excited about what acustomer in the engineering sector has to say. With this in mind tailorthe customer examples, references and case studies you useaccording to the market, or segment you are targeting.Maximizing Your Propositions PowerHere is a tool to measure, or forecast the effectiveness of yourproposition, or benefits message. It is in the form of a table showingthe strength of the messages in columns and credibility in rows.Before calculating the effectiveness of your proposition, here are twokey points to be gleaned from the table:Taking both strength and credibility into account a sales message, orproposition can be communicated in 9 different ways.That means there are 9 different possible levels of success. All ourresearch suggests that a benefit statement that has quantification andcustomer validation is ten times more powerful that the typical formof marketing speak.Here is how you can use the table to gauge the effectiveness of yourmessage: Find the column and the row that best describes yourpropositions strength and credibility. For example taking quantifiedcolumn 2 and you say it row 1, putting the effectiveness of theproposition/benefit at 40%.P a g e |9© The ASG Group 2012
  10. 10. Proposition Power Index:Calculating The Power Of Your Proposition Strength: How it is said? Verbalized Quantified MonetizedCredibility: Customers say it 60% 80% 100%Who says it? Experts say it 40% 60% 80% You say it 10% 40% 60%The Table Explained:At the top of the far right column is the index figure of 100,corresponding to the power or effectiveness of a message that ismonetized and said by your customers. This indicates the mostpowerful form of sales proposition.At the bottom of the far left column is the index figure of 10,corresponding to the power of the proposition that is purely verbal (asopposed to quantified) and is not substantiated by a 3rd party ( say it).Contrast the bottom of column 1 with the top of column 3. Themessage is clear: you can make your proposition up to 10 times morepowerful by first monetizing it and then validated it by reference toyour customers.IDEAS: Making It Work For YouRework your telesales script, or email marketing letters tocommunicate a quantifiable proposition that is backed up bycustomer quotes, or stories. Then for the next two weeks use your oldmessage on half of your list and the new message on the other half.When the two weeks are up compare the results.P a g e | 10© The ASG Group 2012
  11. 11. The Science Behind This PaperThese insights and tools are based on extensive research under 3headings:1. Buyer Research – our ground-breaking research into how modern buying decisions are made and the implications for sellers.2. Best Practice Research – Over 1 million pages of best practice sales case studies, books and research.3. Common Practice Research – Our peer comparison benchmark of 1,000s of your competitors and peers.The Sales Engine® and SellerNav are trademarks of The ASG Group. Theentire contents of this document are copyright of The ASG Group andcannot be reproduced in any format without written permission.Would you like help in tackling your sales challenges? Contact us at:enquiries@theASGgroup.comwww.theASGgroup.comP a g e | 11© The ASG Group 2012