Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Reality television? I’ll take a pass. I find it too staged and unrealistic. However, The Bachelor, an American reality television dating game show, showcases some real lessons for those in business.

I don’t watch the show, but millions have been tuning in since it launched in 2002. The drama, the tears, the famous red roses. Why do so many people find the show fascinating? It probably has to do with the process by which a single individual sets out to find his soul-mate from a group of interested prospects. Each potential prospect has different things to offer – different value propositions. So do businesses and organizations vying for attention from prospective customers.

All relationships, personal or business, depend upon effective communication. There’s nothing complicated about this. Effective communication is reciprocal. It involves listening, considering, questioning, responding and validating. Then why are so many businesses finding it difficult to connect? Why aren’t they getting any red roses?

I hear from businesses frequently that people don’t seem to understand what they are about. They are frustrated, and sometimes angry. They feel they have important products and services to share, but no one is listening. Frequently I ask them, “What is your value proposition?”

Value propositions are the number one component that determines whether people will want to learn more about your product or service. Because of this, it’s important to determine if you are getting it right. If you get it right will result in significant boosts in your business.

So, what is a value proposition exactly? Simply defined, it is a promise of value to be delivered and the primary reason someone should buy your services or products. Your value proposition should explain how you solve problems, how your product or service is relevant, what specific benefits are offered and why someone should buy from you and not your competitors.

Value propositions are based on two-way communication. To properly define your value proposition you must understand your target audiences. What do they perceive about your business? What problems or challenges are they trying to overcome? What do they value in a business? How are they being influenced by your competition?

People looking to purchase goods or services are often engaged in an activity that resembles dating. They target a large group of possibilities and over time work down to one or two that seem to be a good fit. New businesses will be trying to court them, to steal them away from you.

Savvy businesses know that they will attract more attention if they clearly state their value propositions in a way that connects with their target audiences. To know how to connect, businesses need to first understand what makes their product or service desirable. Can it be found elsewhere? If so, why choose your business? If you are offering services that others offer, how do you separate yourself from them? What do people think they know about your organization? Is it true?

Asking current customers and clients is one way to establish why they are choosing to do businesses with you. This can be done through focus groups, surveys, and brainstorming sessions. Remember, however, when you ask people about your business, their answers are likely to be biased because you are doing the asking. Professionals will ensure that you obtain objective information that will move your business forward.

Remember The Bachelor. In order to be selected to receive the red rose at the end of the day, you must first develop a connection with your prospects. They will love you forever if they find value in what you offer.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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