How to Connect Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) With Style

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Everyone has heard the sales maxim, “a confused prospect will never buy.” Still, how many of us are confusing our prospects every day by failing to be crystal-clear about the reasons they should buy from us? It’s imperative to let potential customers know what makes your product so special, what’s unique about you and why they should leave their current vendor and give you their business. Let them know what’s in it for them.

It’s important to refine your sales messaging and genuinely connect with your prospects in order to make the case for why they want what you’re selling. It’s easy to do if you learn how to tailor your unique value proposition (UVP) to match your customer’s personality type, thereby increasing trust and rapport and connecting to the things that matter most to them.

When you better understand the customer, you’ll find that you can secure more appointments, build sustainable relationships, smoothly navigate the sales process, handle objections with greater ease and win more business.

The UVP

The UVP is the foundation of every step in sales. In order to close a deal, you should be able to clearly answer these five questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do and what value do you bring to the table?
  3. What’s unique and important about that, and what’s in it for customers?
  4. Who is your typical customer?
  5. Why do companies hire you or do business with you?

The answers should be short and memorable.

Taking the time to determine the components of your UVP makes it exponentially more powerful. The high-level description identifies your market and describes what you do for your target customer in 25 words or less. The benefit statement details the benefits that you promise to deliver. The value to the client describes the key value customers derive from the benefits of your product or service. The client’s major issue is a summary of the typical client’s major issue or pain: “Customers hire us because…” Your differentiation statement quantifies what makes your company unique, what sets it apart from competitors.

What Makes You Special?

Before you assault someone with an inspiring speech about how great your product is and how wonderful your company is, you have to listen. Listen to customers first to find out what makes them special. Giving them your undivided attention serves two purposes: It helps to build a rapport and make the customer feel more special, and it allows you to determine what their needs are and how to best connect with them.

What’s Your Style?

Most people exhibit characteristics that can determine their personality style as analytical, amiable, expressive or a driver. There is almost always some overlap, but learning to identify your own style and that of your customer will streamline your communications and capture more sales.

The analytical person focuses on facts and logic, acts when a payoff is clear and is careful not to commit too quickly. The amiable person cooperates to gain agreement, provides support and communicates trust. The expressive personality creates excitement and involvement; shares ideas, dreams and enthusiasm; and motivates, inspires and persuades. Drivers typically focus on results, take charge, enjoy challenges and make quick decisions.

That basic knowledge tells you that the information you would use to persuade an expressive customer to make a purchase could easily backfire if you took the same approach with a driver—and vice versa. Consider them in more detail, and you’ll probably begin to identify people in your life who fall pretty neatly into each category.

Analytical people fall low on both the assertiveness and emotional scales. They are often serious, well-organized, systematic, logical, factual and reserved. Those traits can make them good at details and problem-solving and often make them talented at finance, science and computers. Their weaknesses can include emotional distance and a tendency to overanalyze and get bogged down in details. Analytical people often rely on charts, graphs and statistics and exhibit little facial and vocal expression. (Example: Bill Gates)

Amiable people are typically friendly, cooperative, supportive, patient and relaxed. They make good listeners, teammates and collaborators—great characteristics for teachers and therapists. But many have trouble asserting themselves, and they’ll go to great lengths to avoid confrontations. Sometimes you can spot the amiable personality by their friendly facial expressions, frequent eye contact, supportive language and a tendency to display family pictures in the office. (Example: Katie Couric)

Expressive people are outgoing, enthusiastic, persuasive, humorous, lively and gregarious. That makes them good at motivating others, building relationships and forming alliances. Expressives make good actors, trainers and salespeople. They do, however, have some weak spots: a tendency to be overly impulsive or impatient, uninterested in details and to lash out verbally when they’re upset. You’ll recognize expressive people by their rapid gestures, animated speech, persuasive language and workplace clutter. (Example: Robin Williams)

Drivers, on the other hand, are decisive, independent, efficient, deliberate, intense and achievement-oriented. Drivers take charge, make quick decisions, take risks, thrive in positions of authority and possess a single-minded focus on goals. They may rush to action, overlooking details and making mistakes. They’re often workaholics who push feelings aside. Drivers tend to make direct eye contact, move quickly, speak forcefully and rely on project charts and planning calendars. (Example: Donald Trump)

Your Backup Style

Your style in everyday situations may be altered when you find yourself under pressure. Drivers typically become more demanding, expressives get more emotional, amiables quickly concede and put their own feelings aside while analyticals work even harder to avoid conflict.

There is no “best” working style; each has advantages and disadvantages that vary with the situation. And it’s important to remember that your working style is not your whole personality, which includes your hopes, dreams, values, intelligence and the many things that make you unique. Your working style is simply your default—or your comfort zone— where you operate most of the time. By recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses, you can even grow beyond your style and learn to build more effective relationships.

The Customer’s Style

When you meet a potential customer, take note of two key factors in order to assess their personality and how to best connect with them: Are they asserting their needs, wants and opinions a lot or a little? Are they expressing their feelings a lot or a little? The answers tell you where he or she lies on the assertiveness scale and the responsiveness scale.

Less assertive people will speak slower and softer and make fewer statements than more assertive people. Their hands may be cupped or relaxed, eye contact will be less direct and they may lean back while they speak. More assertive people may point at others, lean forward to make a point and won’t shy away from direct eye contact.

Less responsive people speak in more of a monotone and focus on tasks, facts and data. More responsive people are more animated and use more vocal inflection, speaking more often about people or opinions, often including stories or anecdotes. The less responsive person may speak with closed hands, rigid posture and a controlled facial expression. More responsive people are more likely to have a more casual posture, open palms and more animated facial expressions.

Selling with Style

Identifying your own working style and that of the potential customer is an important first step in identifying what type of bridge you need to build to reach each different type of customer. Modify your approach to the different personality types by understanding what they most need and want from you.

  • Working with Analyticals
    Analytical customers respond best if you clearly present the pros and cons of a situation and focus on facts, statistics and logic. They may appreciate more formal speech and mannerisms and welcome assurances of low risk. Be on time, keep things brief and speak at a moderate pace at a moderate volume.
  • Working with Amiables
    When your customer demonstrates an amiable personality, go out of your way to solicit their opinion, make friendly eye contact and speak in moderate tones. Encourage them to express their concerns and avoid pressuring them for a decision. Work toward mutual agreement on plans and goals.
  • Working with Expressives
    Expressives respect direct eye contact, energy and fast-paced speech. Socialize a bit, and talk about feelings and experiences. Focus on generalities and the big picture rather than minute details and the nitty-gritty of your proposal. Support your ideas with testimonials from people they like, and do your best to strike a balance between goal achievement and fun.
  • Working with Drivers
    Avoid small talk when you’re speaking with a driver; it will only serve to annoy them. Get down to business quickly with direct eye contact and no rambling. Be clear, brief and specific and make direct eye contact. Of course, make sure you’re organized and well prepared. Arrive on time and leave on time—no lingering.

The Big Meeting

When you’re fortunate enough to understand the customer’s personality style in advance of a meeting, welcome the valuable opportunity to plan. Set your objectives for the meeting in writing. Evaluate your options as well as potential trouble spots that may arise between your respective working styles. From there, you can plan a strategy for building rapport and winning the customer.

It takes practice to learn how to identify your prospects’ working styles, and it’s worth remembering that most of us exhibit characteristics from multiple categories. Here again, the secret is to listen. Pay attention to what potential clients show and tell you about themselves, and you’ll be one step closer to mastering the connection of UVP and style.

Patrick McClure
Patrick McClure is the founder of the Connexia Group, a consulting firm specializing in accelerating performance in sales, management, customer service and presentation skills. His 30-year career includes industry experience in manufacturing, wholesale distribution, high technology, small business and Internet-based startups.

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