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John Windsor

Jill, this is excellent — as good as anything you've written (and I love your writing).

What I suggest to people is that they start their value proposition with "We help companies _____" and then finish the sentence with what a company can accomplish with their product or service or application. That takes it out of the "We have" or "We do" or "We are" mindset that is so prevalent, and so deadly.

Craig Elias

I agree with both Jill and John.

I also agree with Seth Godin who says if you can't state your position in eight words or less, you don't have a position.

Personally I like combine Jill, Johns, and Seth's perspective into what I call a seven second sale. Seven words that will pique someone's interest. For example I worked with a lady who is a fitness trainers and she now says "We help women look good in anything". I sit on the advisory team for a company called VendorRate.com and their seven second sale to CIOs is "We reduce the risk of buying IT".

The response you want to get is "How do you do that?"

If you don't have the hard numbers that Jill suggests this may be a good substitute for a value proposition.

Gerard McLean

At one point, we developed this FES stimulator for horses (Functional Electrical Stimulation, reduces swelling, pain, etc) It would send electrical stimulus to a horse's back, legs, etc. Horses are generally skittish when it comes to zapping them with electricity, so going out and telling people it was an FES(or TENS) unit, just got that face and they walked away.

Instead, we said "It is physical therapy for horses" (6 words..) and 9 times out of 10, we got a "Really?? Tell me more.." and then a sale.
http://dayton.bizjournals.com/dayton/stories/1998/03/09/newscolumn3.html (unfortunately, the company making it went belly up :-) )

Casey Hibbard


I love today's post. Why is this such a hard thing to do in sales? I think most companies don't take the time to gather up those nuggets of results to have in their back pockets for sales conversations. Too often, those details stay buried in the written success story or case study that Marketing produced.

Thanks for this important reminder! Have a great weekend.


Matt Bertuzzi

@Jill great post. You got me thinking and I wrote my own post on the matter. I was channeling you, Seth Godin & David Meerman Scott.

If you'd like, stop by and share your thoughts.

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