You Can’t Sell A Weak Value Proposition

It’s very difficult to sell without a compelling value proposition.

Today I received a second call from a “radio station” that broadcasts live shows to 150 or more countries over the Internet. The salesperson said that they had researched me and determined that I would be a good fit for their platform.

Politely, I suggested again that I wasn’t a good fit for their platform, and the salesperson wanted to know why. I explained that they don’t pay the “hosts” or “broadcasters” or whatever on their platform, and therefore, no value. I ruffled her feathers enough it came through in her voice when she suggested that I would have to pay them to to be on their network.

I told her that I can already do what they do with a podcast, and I can be found on iTunes and Stitcher and Blubrry and my own site. She asked if I could be found in a 150 countries. I told her that thanks to the Internet, I imagine anyone who wanted to could find me from whatever country they happened to live in, but I wasn’t sure about North Korea.

The salesperson was angry that I pushed back on her value proposition (or lack thereof) and told me that I wasn’t a good fit. I agreed. In fact, that was why I was trying to disqualify myself again.

Some Lessons

  • It isn’t this salesperson’s fault she has a poor value proposition. Her company’s business model is broken. They are kind of a vanity press for people trying to build a brand, and when the tools and platforms didn’t exist to the level they do today, they may have been useful. She isn’t responsible for her company failing to change.
  • The business model is to sell me the package and then require me to sell advertisers to make money. This model looks a lot like the publishing industry. Book publishers are interested in publishing books from people who are going to sell a lot of books. But if you already have an audience (and no publisher would want you if you didn’t), then you don’t need a publisher. You also don’t need to pay for a platform to broadcast.

When what your client needs changes, your value proposition needs to change. Ask yourself this question, “What value can we deliver that would make us worth paying for?” (If you want to be great, ask “What value we can deliver that would make us worth paying MORE for?”

If what you sell depends on your clients selling something, your value proposition is likely going to depend on how you help your client sell.

Filed under: Sales 3.0, Value

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