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Value propositioning happens in all conversations that attempt to obtain a favorable decision among alternatives. Sometimes it is done by the Decision Champion who seeks the decision. Sometimes it is done by the Decision Maker who seeks an understanding. Regardless of whether one or both do it, three factors get in the way: human ... decision-making ... behavior. This book is about how business decisions are really made. It focuses on what really happens, how it really happens, and why it really happens. It does not, like so many new books every year, provide yet another analytical procedure for making optimal selections among alternatives. It illuminates something much more fundamental: Decisions are always made in favor of the choice with the best value ... as perceived by the Decision Maker. Perception is everything; but perceptions are formed independent of truth, accuracy, and the best intentions of all parties.
"And since I know that many people have already written about these matters, I fear that I shall be considered presumptuous in writing about them, too, the more so because in treating this subject I depart from the rules set down by others. But since it is my intention to write something of use to those who will understand, I deem it best to stick to the practical truth of things rather than to fancies. [The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli, Chapter 15, as translated by Daniel Donno, Bantam]
Acclaim for Value Propositioning
Neil Rackham, Author: Spin Selling - Books in the field of persuasion and influence are usually disappointing. It's an area where you mostly find a little thought and a whole lot of hype. Rick Dove's book is an exception. It is thoughtful, closely argued and it makes you think. Any professional interested in selling and persuading will find this book worthwhile and rewarding.
Gary Vasilash, Editor-in-Chief, Automotive Design & Production - One of the more important books that you'll ever have the opportunity to put to good use in your professional (and even recreational) life is this slim (96-page) but dense text by thinker and consultant Rick Dove. Dove has a depth of understanding of organizational issues, particularly as they pertain to the implementation of technology, that is unparalleled among those who tend to hold forth on such matters. While Dove's previous book, Response Ability: The Language, Structure and Culture of the Agile Enterprise, dealt primarily with agility, an operational and organizational approach that he was instrumental in defining in his work with the Agile Forum at Leigh University in the early ‘90s, in Value Propositioning Dove thoughtfully examines how decisions are made in organizations. He synthesizes, condenses, and deploys the concepts of a number of people who have thought about and essayed the ways of learning and thinking and puts what are otherwise academic issues into the non ivy-covered world.
Say you want to have a new program approved. You must create a value proposition for why that would be important to someone else. That someone is what Dove calls the "Decision Maker." And he maintains, "Nothing happens until a problem is perceived by a Decision Maker." The problem that your program can resolve may exist, but unless the Decision Maker is convinced of the reality of that situation, until the Decision Maker perceives it, then the likelihood that there will be any change is nil. Moreover, once there is a perception of a problem, then the "satisficing" behavior defined by Herbert Simon comes into play: people aren't apt to go too far outside their current concepts, notions or ideas when presented with alternatives. Dove writes: "Satisficing behavior tends to limit search activity initially to a small number of candidates," and chances are those candidates are not thoroughly unfamiliar, for, as he puts it in an example, "when an existing product becomes inadequate for the market, a company will tend to look purposely for projects that promise a superior featured version rather than something completely different that would obsolete the product concept." In other words, "New and Improved" is just fine; "Something Completely Different" is anathema to most Decision Makers. But getting them to where they need to be isn't impossible—if you fully perceive their position.
An understanding of how Decision Makers think and how they can be best influenced greatly enhances your ability to get things done. And this is what Dove's book can help you do.
Greg Lefelar, Manager, Federal eServer Sales, IBM - I found this book very insightful on the forces in action within any business interaction. Rick provides a technical, yet very common sense approach in describing influencers and decision makers and the variables which affect how decision makers ultimately decide. "Value Propositioning" can be a valuable educational tool for sales professionals in understanding the tremendous importance of building trust with their clients, and in building competency with their brand. Rick delivers his work with the experience of someone who has obviously "been there", and with a subtle sense of humor that makes it an enjoyable read.
Mike Cowen, Chairman, Sportable Scoreboard, Inc., Murray, KY - Our company is always searching for methods to improve the productivity of our sales associates. We hoped that Value Propositioning would provide us valuable insights into the positioning of our multiple brands. By reading and discussing this book, we have benefited from a much broader understanding of the buyers' decision making process than we ever appreciated and have begun to build these insights into our marketing and selling strategies. We look forward to Rick Dove's next book on this subject. This is a useful, easy to understand summary of the science of the decision making process provided by some of our best researchers. We recommend this book to anyone interested in sharpening their sales and marketing skills.
Dr. Jean Silvernail, Adjunct Professor, Leadership Graduate Program, Robert Morris University - As a person who has done a lot of corporate education, I found this a very helpful, readable book. I recommend it to my students as a "keep on your desk" kind of book, as it is based on a lot of research and best practices. As a trainer, I think it is a very insightful book. As one who learns visually, I loved the concept maps as organizers for the content."
B. Joseph Pine II, Co-author: The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage - As offerings become more experiential, decisions become more subjective. Perception is reality. So make your reality every decision maker's perception by reading Value Propositioning. Reach your customers with what they need to know to choose wisely. Learn from the master, Rick Dove, in this easily digested and practical book. He brings research, often from Nobel-prize winners, his own thoughts, and concept mapping into pragmatic, bite-sized chapters that show you how to create value propositions for your customers in meaningful, winning ways.
Dr. J. T. Quatse, COO, 7th Street Software, Berkeley - Rick Dove's analytical conceptualizing of the proposition should be a must read for students of marketing or technology. The subject is given a surprisingly fresh sophisticated understanding."
Dr. Joseph Novak, Professor Emeritus Cornell University, Author of 26 books - Rick Dove's Value Propositioning - Book One - Perception and Misperception in Decision Making has done a remarkable job of capturing and using the ideas of meaningful learning and other learning principles to show how business decisions can be improved. I found this book very rewarding. A wonderful job of defining the concepts of Decision Maker and Decision Champion. These concepts in turn define good Value Propositioning. The concept maps he uses to summarize his ideas are well done, and should help readers understand the difficult concepts he is presenting. I look forward to reading Books two and three.
Steven L. Goldman, A.W. Mellon Distinguished Professor, Lehigh University.
Co-author: Agile Competitors and Virtual Organizations -
Nobody has thought through implementing the
concept of agility as deeply as Dove or accumulated his experience in
building agile operations. Now, based on his experience, Dove hones in on
identifying the real values carried by an organization's business and
Joel Orr, Cyon
Research, VP. Author: The Victorious Engineer -
is in sales" is a provocative phrase, repeated for the last several
decades throughout the corporate world. At the same time, sales is often
identified with persuasion, coercion, deception, and seduction. Yet sales,
I've become convinced, is at the heart of win-win business and
professional activities. It involves helping people see the wisdom of
buying. Practiced responsibly and morally, it is therefore the most
beneficent of activities; the seller truly serves the prospect, while
earning a living. I cannot think of a category of people who will not gain
immensely by reading Rick Dove's book, and studying its recommendations.
It derives from a profound understanding of human learning and
decision-making, simultaneously analytical and intuitive. This approach is
a powerful tool for good. You owe it to yourself to read Rick's
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