#20: Proposition – Part 2

This month we follow on from last month’s article on propositions and what this can do for you and your business. If your market is “business to business” there is only one reason why they are going to buy from you, and that is money. If you cannot get into your message that you are going to make money for people, save them money, or both, the likelihood is that the recall level will be lower as sooner or later they will have to link it to a budget that somebody has to approve.

A good example of this would be an accountant I know. He changed his pitch from “I am an accountant” to “I help business owners make more money and pay less tax”. He told people what he did as opposed to what he was.

When I first started in consulting, we used to say we helped business owners set and achieve their strategic objectives. People just used to look at us blankly – what does that mean?

I changed it and now say we help people make money and free up their time. So the antennae go up and they ask, “How do you do that?” and then you are in a conversation. All they needed to know was that we could do something that makes or saves them money, because that is the return on investment for them taking our service.

Whether your market is “business to consumer” or “business to business”, there is a simple test you can carry out to discover the effectiveness of your proposition and check that you have avoided jargon:

  • Create one page of A4 (in a sensible typefont) that captures the essence of what you do. This can also go on to form a key component of your website (more on that later), and the content of your elevator pitch (more on that also).
  • Test your proposition on a twelve year old. A twelve year old should have reached a level of literacy where, if you avoid jargon, he or she should be able to understand what you say and faithfully play it back to you to demonstrate the fact. If you put jargon in, they won’t be able to do so.

If, after you have done this, you find your paper gets your point across quickly and effectively, then you know you have used the best language to describe what you actually do rather than what you are.

Once you have figured out how to best sell yourself and your business, it’s time to turn your attention to the competition surrounding you. We will cover this in next month’s expert article.

Posted in: Start-ups

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