What is the problem that people want solved when they buy a milk shake? One study of customers who were buying milk shakes from a fast food outlet in the early morning produced an interesting answer. People said that a milk shake helped quell their hunger until midday on a long boring commute.
Understanding the problem that the customer faced made it easier to make improvements. In this case by producing a thicker milk shake so it would last longer!
Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt famously put it this way, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter inch-hole!”
Some companies get the point. Hilti is featured in the book, Value Proposition Design, as an example of a business that realised that their value proposition needed to change. Their customers faced the important problem of delivering projects on time and budget. Lost, damaged or stolen tools only delayed projects. They moved from selling machine tools to a new value proposition, offering leased services, which solved the customer’s problem of timeliness.
These are examples of company value propositions that respond to the actual problem that the customer faces.
It is equally important to have a responsive value proposition as part of our personal brand. We need to make it clear how our value solves a problem for our client or employer.
Why do we need a responsive personal value proposition? Well according to one survey, four in five Australians leave their current job because of limited career opportunities.
Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? says, “Most job-hunters who fail to find their dream job fail not because they lack information about the job market, but because they lack information about themselves.”
Our unique value proposition should help solve a problem for our client or employer. For example, your problem solving strength could help them avoid a risk they face. Your big picture ability could assist them to capture a new opportunity. Your ‘can-do’ value proposition could support them to execute a strategy that their stakeholders love.
Most of us spend very little time thinking about the value we offer let alone the real problem that it solves for our clients and employers.
What is the problem that your unique value proposition solves?
Best regards, Brian