Jaws on a spaceship”: Building a value proposition in four easy steps

Anthony O'Brien

By

April 28, 2016

At last count, around 2.5 million Australians said they were seeking advice from financial planners. This was regarded by the advice industry as good news after the dark days of the Global Financial Crisis.

On the flipside, it means there are millions of Aussies overlooking the value of financial planning. This smacks of opportunity for savvy planners and represents an excellent reason for formulating a value proposition that can unlock the way you interact with potential leads and generate more revenue.

The value proposition differential

Your value proposition is the statement that explains how your product or service provides your client with a solution to a problem, in a way that is different to your competitors. To illustrate the benefits of a value proposition, there’s a great tale about the movie producer who pitched the film Alien. The producer was asked by a studio executive to describe the film in one sentence. His answer was: “It’s Jaws on a spaceship”. This worked a treat with 20th Century Fox, who made the film, which became a global box office hit in 1979.

In this instance, the producer knew the product, what value it offered 20th Century Fox, and how it was different from the competition, which included the forgettable Main Event starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neill. The Alien concept was distilled down to one sentence and the public loved it.

Pitching your services

Online video-calling service Skype offers another great example of how a value proposition can generate cut-through. In their value proposition, the VoIP provider identified that keeping people together is a core challenge for many of us. They therefore refined their value proposition to one sentence: “Wherever you are, wherever they are, Skype keeps you together”.

It’s a simple statement that comes from understanding the value Skype offers to its clients and it’s universally used across all marketing and communication channels.

How do I build a good value proposition?

There is surplus of online tools and models for building a value proposition. For me, the easiest way to start building a value proposition is to ask yourself, and your team, the following questions:

  1. 1. Who is our target audience?
  2. 2. What is the pain point (issues and challenges) our clients face?
  3. 3. How does our advice solve those issues in a way that is unique or different for our clients? (You want clients to say, “This is exactly what I am looking for”.)
  4. 4. What are the outcomes our clients will achieve by using my unique product recommendations and ongoing advice?

Ultimately, the key for a planner is to tap into what makes a complex service (relative to lawn mowing or house cleaning), such as financial advice, quantifiable in their clients’ minds. The value proposition should also make clients feel comfortable about working with you on account of your unique knowledge and advice that can help them chart a course towards financial freedom.

The bottom line is that creating a value proposition could make the crucial difference between generating more business … or sitting on the sidelines watching your competitors grow!

This article appears in the May 2016 edition of Professional Planner – out now.


TOPICS:  advice solutionsvalue of advicevalue proposition



Anthony O'Brien

About The Author /

Anthony O'Brien is a principal of corporate marketing and communications firm Corpwrite. He is a business and personal finance writer with experience extending over 20 years in the communication industry. He is presently the small business writer for Money magazine and has contributed regularly to a range of other publications including Charter, The Australian Worker, INTHEBLACK, Rugby League Week, Jetstar Magazine, Australian Way and The Bulletin. O'Brien also worked as a reporter with NBN on its nightly television news service. O'Brien is a published author, working with leading finance commentator Paul Clitheroe AM, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board, to co-author Make your Fortune by 40 (Viking 2001) and Road to Wealth (Viking 2000). Prior to launching into self-employment in 1999, O'Brien worked in a diverse range of corporate communication roles for IBM, Link Telecommunications, BT Australia, several NSW state politicians and a number of PR firms.