Modern Selling: The Three Stages of a Value Proposition

April 8, 2022
Presenting a proposal will only work if you deliver it in a logical progression

This article originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

How many times have you presented a slam-dunk proposal only to receive news that your competition won the project? The problem probably isn’t your value proposition or your presentation style, but it could be the sequence in which you deliver proposal.

Communicating your value proposition in a three-stage sequence of teasing, creating emotional attachment, and logically justifying will drastically increase your probability of winning business. This process does not require a vast amount of information, but it does require following the step-by-step order of communicating:

Stage One: Teasing

The Teasing Stage takes place at the very beginning of an opportunity. The goal of this stage is to create enough interest and curiosity to be invited to compete on the project. It includes two things:

  • Share a relevant story about how you have helped another similar organization. If you are talking to a hospital, ideally you share a story about another hospital, but that is not necessary, as long the story is relevant.
  • Create a mystery and genuine curiosity in whether you can solve their problem. As an example, you can state something like this: “We were very successful in solving Downtown Healthcare’s access control challenge while minimizing the burden on their IT staff; however, your hospital is unique, and I want to make sure we can solve your problems before getting too far ahead of ourselves. Can I ask you a few questions to see if we might be a fit?”

Can you feel the difference between this type of conversation and the “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” technique? You are engaging your prospect with curiosity: “They helped that other group. I wonder if they can help us like that?”

You will not win anything at this stage, but the anticipation will fully engage your customer for the next stage.

Stage Two: Emotion

Stage two is considered the “selling stage” by many people. This is the part of the buying process when you get the chance to present your solution. The key to this stage is to make it personal. The great ones take the value proposition deeper by creating an emotional impact with their prospects.

Understanding the value is important, but making sure they are feeling the benefits at a personal level is your goal. It is not just about the company’s ROI or the resilience of your system, but it is about the reduced stress and free time that your points of contact will receive.

Make it personal. When you can illustrate these personal outcomes, your customers will be emotionally attached to your offering and will make sure that you win – if you nail the last stage.

Stage Three: Logic

Think about the last time you really wanted something. You had to provide logical justification, didn’t you? Whether to your spouse or yourself, it was necessary to convince someone that this was a smart choice.

Regardless of the level of emotional attachment that you create with your points of contact, they will hit a roadblock if you do not provide logical justification. The two best ways to offer logical justification are:

  • Numbers – If someone wants your solution and you can provide a specific cost analysis that shows a positive outcome, you will win virtually every time. Examples are ROI calculations, Total Cost of Ownership comparisons, and hidden cost breakdowns.
  • Testimonials – There is nothing more powerful than a reference. If you can facilitate a visit to a reference site, that is perfect. If not, phone calls are also powerful.

Chris Peterson is the founder and president of Vector Firm (, a sales consulting and training company built specifically for the security industry. Use "Security Business" as a coupon code to receive a 10% lifetime discount at To request more info about the company, visit