You Have A VALUE Problem (NOT A Sales Problem)

Few things are as foundationally important to sales success as your value proposition statement. In just one sentence, it captures who your buyers are, what problems they’re facing, how your product solves that problem, and so so much more. And when constructed properly, it should drive nearly every action and strategy of a business.

But when your value proposition is off, well that can spell huge problems for attracting the right buyers for what you’re selling.

Now before we get into the Value Proposition Design Framework, I want to point out that we’re going to be doing a brief overview. For those who want to dive deeper into each of these steps, I suggest heading over to There you can find an article that talks about each step in-depth.

Alright with that said, let’s dig in.

1. Identify Your Value (The Value Diagram)

So step one of designing your value proposition is to identify your value. In the framework, we call this filling out The Value Diagram. And it’s got three sections:

  • Your Products
  • Perk Producers
  • Strain Reducers

Your job is to fill out these three sections.

You can start by listing out all the products or services you offer. Try to be thorough here. Because the next steps are to fill out the perk producers and strain reducers of each.

What are the benefits your products add to your buyers’ lives? Do they outperform your competitor? Do they lead to a positive social consequence like boosting their reputation? Do they create cost savings? Write those down in the perk producers section.

And how do these products eliminate hardships your buyers go through? Do they fix frustrating solutions? Eliminate risk? Limit or get rid of common mistakes buyers make? List them out in the strain reducers section.

2. Find Your Ideal Buyer (The Buyer Breakdown)

Finding your ideal buyer, a.k.a. the Buyer Breakdown. Just like in the previous section, this section consists of three steps:

  • Your Buyer’s Jobs
  • Perks
  • Strains

And yep, that means we’re listing out each.

First, what are the jobs your buyers perform? The functional jobs (like work duties), social jobs (like proving they’re competent and worthy of respect) and emotional jobs (like feeling accomplished).

Next we’re listing out the perks—the benefits your buyers want to see in your product. There are four types of perks to consider here: required perks, expected perks, desired perks, and unexpected perks.

Be sure to head over to to read the article if you want to learn more about each.

And last, what are the strains your buyer’s facing? These are the pain points of your existing customer profile. What annoys them before, during, and after they’re trying to get a job done? What are the risks that keep them from working as efficiently as they could?

3. Find the Fit

Now that you’ve got both your Value Diagram and your Buyer Breakdown filled out, we’re going to do some cross-referencing between each.

All you have to do here is determine which jobs, strains, and perks in the Buyer Breakdown the strain reducers and perk producers on the Value Diagram address. Go through each job, strain, and perk one by one, placing a checkmark next to the ones that fit. At the end, simply remove the ones that don’t have a checkmark.

After that, all that’s left is crafting your value proposition statement based on which elements are highest on the list of importance.

4. Create Your Value Proposition Statement

So, how do you create your value proposition statement?

Simple, you plug in the info you’ve just written down into this template:

So remember all the jobs, perks, and strains you matched before? Simply fill them into this template.

So for me at, it might look like this:

Our Selling Made Simple Academy (product) helps sales teams (buyer) who want to achieve higher close rates (buyer job) by teaching effective sales strategies (verb, perks) and simplifying the sales process (verb, strains) unlike traditional sales training programs (competition value prop). 

See how that works?

Now the trick here is to be flexible. Because after you’ve plugged all your info in, you still need to…

5. Verify Your Value Proposition

To settle on a compelling value proposition, you’ll need to test whether it resonates with your buyers. And that means you need to:

  1. Generate a hypothesis about your ideal buyer and what they value
  2. Create a value proposition based on that hypothesis
  3. Design experiments to verify the effectiveness of your value proposition
  4. Run and collect results from your experiments
  5. Reevaluate and tweak the components of your value proposition based on the results
  6. Repeat the cycle

There are plenty of ways you can test your value proposition, including:

  • Ad and link tracking
  • Split testing emails
  • Split testing landing pages
  • Buyer interviews
  • Buyer behavior data analysis
  • Crowdfunding

In the end, just be sure you’re continually re-evaluation and iterating on what you learned along the way. Remember, this is a process, not a one-time effort!


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