Selling for the Non-Sales Professional Part II, the Value Proposition Continued

We ended the last post with three components of the value proposition:

1.    The problem you solve
2.    The knowledge you bring to the equation
3.    You

Let’s take a deeper look at these:

The Problem you solve:

What is it that you do for your customers?
 – Do you deliver everyday cheap process like Wal-Mart®?
 – Are you helping to attract customers through the use of internet marketing?
 – Are you helping hospitals collect more money with fewer complaints?

It is important to understand what it is that you do. For many years, people asked me what I do and I would reply, “I am a salesperson.” Does that answer how I can serve you or your friends? NO!

Now I reply, “I help healthcare providers collect the oldest and most expensive AR on their books, quickly and with better results.” The other party immediately asks them self. “Do I need this? Do I know anyone who can use this?”, “Do I need this? Do I know anyone who needs this?” And notice I did not say sales, so they aren’t thinking, I have to defend against the sale.”

The Knowledge or the expertise you bring to the equation

This is where you start to differentiate your offering from others. Chances are that you got into business because you had a better way to do what you do than the others in the industry. Or, at least you think so. So what is it?
–    Is it the leverage of technology?
–    Is it a better process?
–    Do you have knowledge no one else has?
–    Can you do it less expensively due to labor or distribution costs?

You get the idea.


This is perhaps the most important part of the sale, you! Who you are, your character, your spirit of service, your competitive drive to win all determines your success.  People can get appointments and make presentations but buyers can sense if we are sincere and whether we have their best interests at heart.  

Joe Charbonneau, a speaker that I used to listen to, would talk about how this occurred. He used an example of going to some friend’s house for dinner and how when you walked in you knew that they had just had a fight. You didn’t see the fight, you didn’t hear the fight, but you knew there had been a fight. We picked up the vibes. (There is a whole field of study out there on how we pick up on these subtle pieces of information. (Tone of voice, micro-expressions, and so on).

This can be philosophical, but I have never met nor studied any selling methodology or approach that did not say forcefully that you have to have your client’s interest at heart. Many years ago, the management at one company that I worked with, frustrated me. They wanted to control expenses, at what I felt was the expense of my customer. My boss at the time Ed said, “John, a good salesperson spends at least half of their time selling their organization on behalf of their clients”. Now we could argue whether that should be the case but it is true. We have to be our customer’s strongest advocate. You can bet there are competitors that will be.

I should not have to say it but we have to be honest. That can be difficult when you are struggling to make your sale. You may be tempted to tell the buyer what they want to hear. Over time, your attitude towards this character trait will determine your life and business success. With the advent of the internet and the groups that buyers have put together, you have no secrets; they are talking about you. Your reputation will absolutely make or break your career in the long-term.

So how do we take this information to create the value proposition? I would venture to say it is as simple as:

Value = The (P)roblem you solve divided by your (E)xpertise + (Y)ou.
V = P/ (E+Y)

Take good care. If you liked this, please forward this onto your friends.


  1. John,

    To those of us in sales, who are not really sales people by nature, this is a valuable lesson. But I fear that the subject is too big to cover in one small blog entry. From my perspective, the value proposition is the very reason why someone should bother to listen to you in the first place. Instead of focusing on the value they provide most people focus on what they do.

    I’m a trainer…
    I’m a sales person…
    I’m a coach….

    I feel like this small portion of defining the value you bring to the customer is worth a whole series of entries to really drive this point home.

    Of course, that’s just my opinion….


  2. Glad you found it interesting. What are you working on

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