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unCon 2013 Session: Creating Effective Value Propositions with Jack Derby

the second block I chose Jack Derby’s session on creating value propositions.
Jack is a sales legend and teaches this stuff at MIT and Tufts so I knew I
would learn a lot listening to him. Jack not only knows all the data and latest
Forrester research but he also is a practitioner so he has the real world
experience which makes every example he uses even more powerful. He knows this
topic inside and out. We are bombarded with approximately 5,000 messages a day
so how do you make sure yours is one of the handful your customer actually
remembers at the end of the week? No one has enough time today so make it easy
for your customers to remember you. It was a highly interactive session and
Jack called on audience members (including yours truly) to share their value
propositions with the group. He poked, he prodded, and if you were very lucky
he clapped when you were done (whew!). See the photo of Dave McLaughlin from
Vsnap sharing his value prop included here.
room was packed 8 rows deep of chairs people dragged from the other side of the
room. Jack’s stellar reputation preceded him as one of the sessions chosen in
advance. Jack started the session with research showing that the #1 reason B2B
sales people fail is because they cannot communicate a clear value proposition.
A value prop requires specificity so you need to be able to answer the “so
what” question. He used examples from his clients, businesses in the room,
and even Cheerios from General Mills. Cheerios is the top selling cereal in the
world. Why is that so, how did they become the market leader? They have nice
yellow packaging with great graphics but they are the sales leader because they
are “heart healthy” which lowers cholesterol which reduces heart
attacks and ultimately saves lives. So whether you realize it consciously or
not when you buy a box of Cheerios you believe you are preventing death, all
that for a few bucks not a bad value proposition huh?
drivers are you moving in your business? Break it down to its base and tie it
to some metrics for best results. Jack’s formula links the driver to a verb and
a way to quantify results so for example, “we mitigate risk to save you
time & money…” This is not about your elevator pitch; the focus is
on the buyer, not the seller. What is in it for them? Start with the why, not
the what. It was a great session. It think everyone in the room walked away
with a few new ideas and tips to tighten their value propositions. If you have
the opportunity to learn from a master like Jack by all means take it. The
UnConference does such a great job of assembling the right people in the room
and when smart folks get together that is when the magic happens. So if you
missed this session find a way to catch Jack online or maybe next year here. If
you missed the UnConference then mark your calendar for 2014 because it is brain
candy like no other and it is great even the day after Halloween this is candy
you will crave!
Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO
& Moguls
Marketing Matters

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