Our innovation group recently put a powerpoint together that turned out to be over 60 slides — not by our choice, but at the client’s request. My point here is, by the time you get to 60 slides, I think you start to get more and more into your own head, you start drinking your own Kool Aid and run the risk of losing the Core Value Proposition. Yes, the Core Value Proposition. It’s that one distinct component that makes you relevant versus all of the competitors or all the other people that are involved. That value proposition statement is mission critical.
I have observed that many times in pitches, that CEOs and entrepreneurs are so bound and determined to get through all of their carefully crafted slides, they don’t realize that they have lost the audience —in effect, missed their opportunity to get the investors sold on their unique Core Value Proposition. What I am suggesting here is not to overthink your business plan or who you are and how you are going to execute your plan. Instead, spend more time on simplifying and clearly communicating your value proposition, or what makes you relevant versus all the competitors. In fact, simplify, simplify, and then simplify again. Get the words succinct and repeat them every day everywhere and to everyone.[tweetthis]What is the one distinct component that makes you relevant versus your competitors?[/tweetthis]
When our innovation group got on the phone to review the powerpoint deck I mentioned above, and the client wanted 60 slides and was afraid of committing to a value proposition, it meant we had a simple problem. The client believed that overthinking provided value and that our team knew it was really only one or two sentences that mattered. And this is my ultimate point… When you have a compelling value proposition — that you are more affordable, more effective, taste better, are unique in the marketplace, have an easier, simpler interface, one-click-seamless-oh-wow product — that is the critical point that you can then build around. But if you are afraid to shout that out to the world, then let’s face it, you are in a discovery phase and not an execution phase. So discover away and enjoy the process, but realize that this phase is much different than producing a powerpoint deck for presentation.
A presentation without a specific value proposition can get very confusing to senior managers that might be coming in and out of involvement in the project. The same way you, in a meeting or discussion where you don’t have a clear point of view, might question what value you are bringing to the party.[tweetthis]Here’s your challenge…What’s your value proposition in one sentence?[/tweetthis]
So here is the challenge… What is your value proposition? Not in 60 pages, but in one sentence. And that can be either your company’s or your personal one. Yes, your personal value proposition. In fact, for the real challenge, let’s just focus on your personal value proposition. Why are you personally going to be relevant in the very next discussion you have with someone? How are you going to rise above everyone else in your next meeting? Yes, you can blow everyone’s mind in your next meeting.
And here is how you are going to do it…
Imagine, just for a moment, that you are around a big table with very impressive people. Start listening, very intently, but softly at the same time. In fact, blur your eyes while listening. Listen for the “gaps” —the spaces that seem to feel empty. Yes, feel, don’t think. Then, when there is an opportunity to speak, say what you feel. And say it just that way… “I feel like this discussion is missing the customer.” Or, ”I feel like we are talking around the real issue, which is that the economics aren’t working.”
Yes, your opinion is as valuable — or more valuable — than everyone’s in the room. Yes, it absolutely is. And no, you are not worried about the 60 pages of execution, you are looking for the value proposition, the reason for the meeting, the reason the meeting will be relevant. You will be the only one in the room feeling it. You will be the only one in the room listening softly with blurred eyes, asking yourself… Why are we meeting? How is this enforcing our value proposition? Does anyone in the room really understand?[tweetthis]Is your 60-page deck forgetting the customer?[/tweetthis]
Yup, this is going to be exciting! I can’t wait to feel your excitement and zest for life once you
throw out all the hows and details, and just live in your own value proposition —every day, every moment. And soon, you will be asked to sit in on more and more meetings, with more important discussions and more and more and more… Yup, because you are incredible and extraordinary! It’s time to let people know. Start today, yup today!
Onward and upward —