Personal value propositions more important than ever

Cat Coughran-McIntosh

It seems the new normal involves constant change and uncertainty. People are understandably on edge and looking for stability, certainty and trusted guidance from the people with whom they do business. 

In my work marketing real estate agents and advising them as independent business owners, I encourage them to develop and live a personal value proposition (PVP). While a strong PVP has always offered a great way to differentiate yourself from others, it’s more important than ever. A PVP is important not only for real estate agents, but also anyone in sales looking to build stronger relationships with customers and attract more ideal customers.

A company defines its value proposition as the full synthesis of benefits or values it brings to the ideal customers it serves and wants to attract. The value proposition is a core part of a company’s marketing strategy and positions the company in the market. A value proposition is usually a written statement also known at a positioning statement.
It compels customers to buy or otherwise do business with the company. If the company lives up to its promises, customers are loyal, and the company reputation grows strong. 

When it comes to individuals wanting to build their businesses and advance their careers, developing and living a strong PVP is equally important. The PVP has become popularized by modern jobseekers. The Harvard Business Review describes it as, “The foundation for everything in a job search and career progression — targeting potential employers, attracting the help of others and explaining why you’re the one to pick.” Even if you aren’t looking for a new job, a strong PVP is vital in attracting the right clients for the services and solutions you provide. 

There are dozens of articles and videos online on how to craft a PVP. In my work with salespeople and business owners, The best PVPs take into consideration three things:

n Who is your ideal customer? Clearly define the people or entities you want to work with and for. Be specific and list all the attributes that describe them. You can even find pictures, phrases and words that illustrate your ideal customer and cut them out to build a picture. The goal is to get this persona clear in your mind.

n What skills and solutions help your ideal customer in a meaningful way? Think about your ideal customer from this perspective: “What value can I bring to them, and how am I different than others who do what I do?” Tie your strong suits to the needs of your ideal customer. The goal is to clearly articulate how you’re different and how that benefits your ideal customer. Putting this into a chart is helpful.

n What are your core values? These are the intrinsic values by which you aspire to live and bring to your work. In her book, “Dare to Lead,” author and researcher Brené Brown breaks down the importance of verbalizing core values. “We can’t live into values that we can’t name, and living into values requires moving from lofty aspirations to specific, observable behaviors.” The goal is to come up with two or three words that summarize the way you intend to show up in the world. Find definitions or word art, print them out and put them in a place where you can see them every day. If you need a little help with this task, visit

Now you have the framework to write your PVP statement. Tie your skills, solutions and core values back to your ideal customer. Write a few drafts and share them with mentors and advisors for feedback. But make it authentically yours. Once you have your PVP honed, share it in your resume, website and anywhere it will connect with your ideal customers.

The most powerful way to share your PVP is to live it. People who back up their words with actions gain even more traction with their ideal customers as well as enduring loyalty.

While a strong PVP has always been a great way to differentiate yourself from others, it’s more important than ever. It articulates who you are, who you serve and the values you bring to your customers. It fosters the clarity and trust everyone seeks, further increasing your value.