Unprecedented Value Creation and the P&L
Remember the scene from Forrest Gump where Bubba rattles off all of the different dishes that can be made with shrimp?
“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. Dey’s, uh, shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burgers, shrimp sandwich … “
Well, there may not be that many types of customer value, but unlike Bubba’s shrimp menu, there’s only one kind that creates strong customer demand, and occasionally, monopolies. As you might have guessed, the overused and omnipresent “value added” is analogous to “minimal, negligible, and trivial” – or a combination of all three. In other words, when a customer hears “value added” tied to a supplier’s promise, they not only yawn, they will often revert back to price as the deciding purchasing factor.
Additionally, value propositions are often cloaked in clever business speak. Often, when senior leadership is asked for their company’s USP (unique selling proposition), they’ll often begin with, “Sure! Let me tell you about
- Strengths (just like armpits, most stink)
- Differentiation (the exact same thing as strengths)
- Competitive advantage (if it’s real, it still only has a six to nine-month shelf life until somebody copies it)
These words are used to make the CEO/business owner feel good about their value (less) proposition – that which they’ve worked hard on. To the contrary, though, the three bullet points above most often reflect sameness, and that’s why many purchasing decisions revert back to price as the key factor – because there’s no reason not to. Attributes including
What you seek is “unprecedented” value, born from seeing what others have missed. If salespeople would stop selling so damn hard for five seconds to ask the right questions (an upcoming future post), and truly hear (beyond listening) and understand what their customer is saying, then insights might actually be uncovered. This is NOT inquiring about customer pain, by the way, because that’s the spoken need. What we’re after is the UNspoken need! Think “ethnography.”
As we’ve learned, it is keen insights that drive innovation, which then causes the design, development, and delivery of new offerings. This is the lifeblood of all P&Ls.
New Offerings > Demand Creation > Profitable Revenue Growth.
The good news is that you don’t need to memorize 47 different types of prepared shrimp to create demand. Rather, make the identification of unprecedented value your objective, and watch the P&L, and your business, flourish.