Selling Power Blog

News & Insights for B2B Sales Leaders

February 10, 2021

Ditch the Pitch: Use a Value Positioning Statement

By Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE, President, Referral Coach International

The dreaded elevator pitch!

Yes, you need a succinct and confident way to tell people what you do, but some methods of creating this short message can come across and cheesy, vague, or worse—confusing.

Your value positioning statement (VPS)

Because clarity is critical, I favor a straightforward approach. Don’t let your creativity or cleverness get in the way of clarity.

There are three main reasons to have an effective value positioning statement:

  1. Gives people a sense of the work you do—in a way that they can identify with immediately
  2. Demonstrates who you do it for, so they can see if it pertains to them (or if they know someone to whom it pertains)
  3. Conveys one or more benefits in a way that taps into an emotional response

Why an emotional response?

The work of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio has demonstrated that at the heart of every decision is emotion. Yes—facts, statistics, and evidence are important, but at the end of the day, those all create an emotional response. When an analytical client wants to know the details of what you do and a logical reason for why you might recommend a solution, it’s because they want to feel comfortable about their decision.

The Radical Relevance Value Positioning Formula™

There are no right answers, only right answers for you, because if you don’t craft a VPS that you can write and speak naturally, with confidence, then it’s worthless.

What does the brain want?

Neuroscientists will tell you that the brains of your prospects are wired to look for two main things: what problems you solve (or prevent) and what opportunities you provide.

For most people, solving and preventing problems usually carries a bit more weight than looking for opportunities. With that said, I think it makes sense to hit both of those triggers.

Step 1: Your expertise

You are an expert in your area of focus. Don’t run away from this concept. Your prospects are looking for “experts” and “specialists.” Using this concept conveys confidence and credibility.

Step 2: Who you serve

By describing who you serve the best – for whom your processes are geared – you will become more relevant to that prospect. Or if you’re speaking to a center of influence, you’ll be teaching them about who they should send your way.

Step 3: What they want (the benefits)

Whatever your prospect wants are the benefits. The clearer you are about your ideal prospects, the easier it is to speak in terms of what they want—how they will benefit from your work.

Step 4: Value in action

You’ll see from the following example, that steps 1-3 do a pretty good job at explaining what you do and how your clients benefit. But, in my opinion, you want to bring your value to life with either a real-life example or letting your belief in your value show through.

Financial advisor example

My expertise is in financial planning for successful business owners.

I work with fast-paced owners and entrepreneurs who want to focus on what they do best—running their business and making money.

(Value in action) I’m like a financial quarterback for my client. I put the right team in place to make sure they have all the right insurance in place, a benefits package that helps them retain their best employees, and that all their investments are working as hard as possible for them.

The true test

Creating the right VPS can be difficult. I tell my coaching/consulting clients, “It’s hard to see the picture when you’re in the frame.” You might come up with something that feels right in the moment, but when you try saying it to someone, you think to yourself, “What was I thinking?”

So, your VPS needs to pass the “will-I-actually-say-it?” test. And don’t be surprised if your VPS evolves over time until you settle on a standard response that will fit most of your situations.

Headshot of Bill Cates

Bill Cates, author of Get More Referrals Now, Beyond Referrals, and Radical Relevance, and a highly sought-after international speaker. He is also a Selling Power 2021 Leading Sales Consultant. To learn more, go to Bill can be reached directly at: