Developing Your MVP
Here’s an interesting statistic. 99% of every person’s DNA is exactly the same. Only 1% of our DNA makes us different and unique. Unfortunately, stating that you have a great product, service, staff or company reinforces the similarities between you and your competition, rather than what makes you unique. Most salespeople are saying the same thing when attempting to distinguish themselves from their competitors.
What can you claim or offer that your competition cannot which would distinguish you from the rest? Your Most Valuable Proposition™ (MVP) is a unique feature, product, service, or benefit you offer that clearly separates you from the rest.
Your MVP can be:
• A unique service, an added value or distinguishing features of your product.
• An unheard of warrantee, guarantee, return policy, trial period, customer service or referral program.
• An exclusive client list.
Exploit the Obvious
TRACO is a manufacturer of commercial and residential windows. Their website features a story about how they proudly participated in the $30 million restoration of the Statue of Liberty. TRACO was commissioned to manufacture and replace the 25 miniature windows that sparkle from Liberty’s crown. Talk about a unique MVP that no other window manufacturer can claim!
“30 minutes or less-guaranteed!” What company comes to mind? Domino’s! They capitalized on being able to deliver a pizza to your doorstep in 30 minutes or less. While other restaurants may also be able to deliver in 30 minutes or less and may have been doing so long before Domino’s ever came into existence, Domino’s took this concept and exploited what may have been considered obvious. They took something they were already doing, transformed it into a unique feature and then guaranteed it.
Here are some other examples of MVPs
Guaranteed On-Time Delivery: Guarantee a start date, project completion date, a product’s performance, your level of service or an end result. For example, “We will refund each customer a certain amount for each day that goes beyond the completion date.”
Fair Price Assurance Program: “We guarantee that you can’t find a better price for the same product or service or we will refund the difference.” Staples offers a 110% price match guarantee. Not only will they match a lower price from another vender, they will also give you an additional 10% off of the price difference.
Keep in mind, if you are going to develop your own MVP in the form of some type of guarantee or warranty, make sure you develop the “fine print” that evens the playing field when comparing companies or products and covers you in case you are not able to honor your guarantee for reasons outside of your control. (Ex. Weather delays, order delays, delays due to the customer making certain decisions, etc.)
Mike was a loan officer who came to me looking for ways to separate himself from his competition. Being in a highly competitive industry, Mike was looking for something that would give him the edge when speaking to prospects.
After learning more about Mike’s business and his work ethic, it was clear to me that Mike was fully committed to delivering the best value and service to his customers. On the surface this was far from unique. Many loan officers may feel the same way.
Since Mike generated much of his business through referrals and, more specifically, through real estate agents, we started thinking about ways that he could separate himself from the other loan officers who are all competing for the same business that real estate agents can give them.
As we explored this in more detail, Mike shared with me many of the problems that can essentially destroy a loan. Interestingly, many of the reasons why a loan wouldn’t close had more to do with the loan officer and less to do with the client. He said that poor customer service and communication between the client and the loan officer had caused many deals to go bad, even at the closing table, the very day that the customer is supposed to get their loan and become the owner of their new home.
Mike then shared with me all of the reasons why most of his loans got approved and actually closed.
“What if you could put this in writing?” I asked. As such, we were able to invent his first MVP, which was, “We guarantee closing your loan or we pay you $500.”
Anyone can make a lofty claim or guarantee. However, Mike not only put it in writing but there was a cost to him and a conciliation to his customer if he couldn’t deliver.
After a month of promoting this new and unique guarantee, his business took off. Essentially, Mike communicated to his prospects what he was already doing, which was providing exceptional customer service. The only difference was that he positioned it in a way that sounded unique and then wrapped a guarantee around it.
Imagine how his clients, as well as the real estate agents, received his new guarantee. They loved it! Especially the real estate agents. Now, they had one less thing to worry about that could kill their sale. He was able to offer his prospects something that other loan officers could not; guaranteed peace of mind. Mike not only guaranteed each closing but put his own money on the line if he couldn’t deliver on his promise. Wouldn’t you want to work with a salesperson that has so much faith and confidence in his process and abilities that he is willing to put it in writing?
Bear in mind that Mike never had to pay out the $500. Not because every one of his loans closed but because he was smart enough to include some stipulations in his guarantee that protected him in the event that a loan doesn’t close for reasons that are outside of his control. (The client doesn’t prepare the correct documents, the client’s income changes, job status and debt ratio changed, documents aren’t submitted on time, the client changes their mind, and so on.)
To develop your MVP:
1. Take each component of your company (product, company, employees, guarantees, warrantees, pricing, customer service) and write each one on the top of a separate piece of paper.
2. Divide the page into three columns. In the first column, list what your competition is saying as it relates to each category. (If you don’t know, then make an educated guess.) In the second column, list the things you are saying as it relates to each category. You will notice many similarities.
3. Now, get creative! Use the third column to list the factors that make you unique as it relates to each category that other companies cannot claim or is very rare in your industry.
You’ll know you have created your MVP when you get responses from your prospects that sound like, “I’ve never heard that before,” “That’s exactly what I need" or most important, “You’ve provided me with something no one else has; peace of mind.”