In recruiting, think of a value proposition as one (or more) reasons why your candidates or prospects accept positions with your company. Value propositions statements are clear, concise statements of how your prospect or candidate will benefit from what your company (or specific job/career opportunity) has to offer.
In a business-to-business environment, a strong value proposition statement might be …”We help small businesses cut their employee health care costs by up to 45% without reducing options for employees or asking them to pay more out-of-pocket for their health care options.”
By contrast, a weak value proposition statement would be something like, “We are a growing Fortune 500 company and have received awards for our high levels of employee satisfaction.” Great value proposition statements are not about introducing yourself or your company/services.
The key to creating a great value proposition statement is being explicit about what your company or position can do for your customer or prospect. In addition, the statement should provide a clear picture of a “desired outcome”.
For both recruiting and businesses, creating a great value proposition statement is a key, foundational skill for voice mail messages and for cold calling. You won’t get anyone’s attention — or a call back from a voice mail message — unless you have a great value proposition statement.
What is value?
Think of value in the context of a very simple equation, as follows:
value = benefits-cost
Who decides what is of benefit?
Your candidates and prospects do. In addition, you have basically two ways to increase value. You can either:
- Increase the benefits, or;
- Decrease the cost.
Let’s look closer at the benefits portion of the equation as they relate to great value proposition statements.
#1: Identify what’s important to your prospects and candidates.
To craft a great value proposition statement, begin by making a list of what your candidates and prospects tell you are the key factors that influence their decision when making a career move or decision. Your list might look something like this:
- More growth opportunities
- More stability
- Better culture fit
- Increased work-life balance
- More opportunities to work with thought leaders
- Increased ability to know you’re making a difference
And don’t forget to check with recent hires, if possible. Ask them what made them decide to accept the position at your company or client’s company. You might also ask them if they found any “pleasant surprises”, once hired. Find out what exceeded their expectations and add these to your list.
#2: Develop your value proposition statement and practice.
Try crafting some value proposition statements, incorporating the items you collected from your research (in #1).
Drill down (by asking “so what“) until you can develop a focused statement that includes a specific benefit to your prospect or candidate. In the above example, you might end up with a statement like … “With lots of growth opportunities, you will be able to more quickly achieve your career goals and enhance your marketability.” Or, if you offer tuition reimbursement, you might add something like … “With lots of growth opportunities, you will be able to more quickly achieve your career goals and enhance your marketability — while reducing your out-of-pocket expenses up to 85% with our tuition reimbursement options.“
You get the idea. Try taking each of the benefits on your list and developing a value proposition statement that passes the “so what” test and clearly gives a “what’s in it for me“.
Don’t forget to practice your statements, once they are developed. Write them down and read them. Once you can read them comfortably, see if you can recite them from memory. After practicing your memorized statements, you’ll likely have a statement that doesn’t sound canned or rehearsed — but natural and convincing.
If you’re not sure, try leaving yourself a voice mail message with your value proposition statement. How does it sound? Would you return your own call? Or ask someone you trust if they’d be willing to listen to your statement and give you some feedback.
#3: Set a goal and tell someone
Research has shown the value of having a buddy or partner when trying to accomplish new skills or achieve exercise goals. So set a goal for the number of times you will practice using your value proposition statements and ask someone to help you be accountable for achieving your target!
If you have some more ideas about developing great value proposition statements, let’s hear from you!