I often see people use the terms “Mission Statement” and “Benefit Statement” interchangeably. Yet, not only are they not interchangeable; they are actually opposite. A Mission Statement is typically a declaration of how a company or individual will operate; it’s their premise — the point from which all actions will proceed. It’s a business or personal “Constitution” if you will.
A “Benefit Statement” (discussed within both Endless Referrals and Go-Givers Sell More) is a short, succinct statement that tells a person the…benefit that one would receive by using your product or service.
The Mission Statement is “I-focused.” The Benefit Statement is “other-focused.”
The Houston-based Center for Business Planning provides the following Mission Statement for a fictitious new airline:
Airco, Inc. will be recognized as the most progressive enterprise in the transportation business. We will offer our customers cost effective transportation service within geographical areas and market segments that can benefit from our services and will insure a return on investment and growth rate consistent with current management guidelines.
On their site, they also provide examples of very brief Mission Statements from some very well-known companies:
Mary Kay Cosmetics: To give unlimited opportunity to women.
Merck: To preserve and improve human life.
Walt Disney: To make people happy.
I also love Ritz Carlton’s: We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.
Benefit Statements — by their very nature — are always short, succinct and to the point. They should also be used only after someone is ready to hear it; not when you first meet (depending, of course, on the individual, unique situation):
Financial Advisor: We help people create and manage wealth.
Realtor®: I guide people comfortably through the process of buying or selling a home.
Litigating Attorney: Our firm helps people resolve disputes in various forms and avoid costly consequences.
Long-Term Care Insurance: We help people protect their hard-earned assets from one of life’s greatest financial catastrophes.
Again, one clarifies the “mission” from the company’s or individual’s viewpoint while the other clarifies the “benefit” from the prospect’s or potential referral source’s.
Both are important. We must know why we as a company exist, what we stand for and how and why we operate. While we don’t need to communicate all of that to our prospects and customers, we certainly need to be able to communicate the benefits of their doing business with us.
What is your Mission Statement? And, what is your Benefit Statement? Feel free to share. I’ll bet there is a lot we can learn from one another.
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Helping people get a high security entrance door to secure their homes.
I LOVE this post, Bob, and I thank you for explaining the difference AND inspiring me to take this moment to write both. BRB
Hmmmmmm…. this is harder than I thought
Okay, well, why not? I’ve always been confused by the purpose of a mission statement, so here we go. I’m expecting you to help refine it, Bob!
Mission Statement: To bring personal responsibility back into vogue.
Benefit Statement: Helping you grow personally and professionally through effective networking.
I hadn’t thought of that distinction directly and I am still absorbing the messages from “The Go Giver”. Yes, the distinction is very important, I/we versus you.
I would think that this would be necessary for each unique category of product or service a company provides. Our company would need at least three since we are doing software development consulting and two major products which are quite different.
“What is in it for me?” from the customer perspective. Persona’s might help on this too as the major benefits could change depending on who the customer is.
Thank you, everyone, for your comments.
Linda, it always is, isn’t it? 🙂
Doug, if it’s all within one company than only one overall Mission Statement is needed. Remember, the Mission Statement is for you and those in your company to know. And, the chances are that there is one guiding philosophy. Regarding Benefit Statements, yes…there can be as many as necessary depending upon the person you are speaking with.
Yes, we have one mission and will have multiple benefit statements. Thanks for the clarification.
First of all, an embracing Thank You for a very specific benefit I have garnered from meeting you via twitter and your books – I often think of a kind of “mystery” embedded in your communications – to wit: I often have the experience of “getting a lot out of” just the titles of your books and so much so that the thought occurs: “Wow! I might get more out of the title than I do out of the content!” – This is a very real and a very useful (one of my favorite words) thing –
“It’s Not About You” – Wow! How useful that can be when realized in front of an audience of 500 public school children –
“Go Givers Sell More” – Wow! How useful that can be when one experiences a slight slack in the enthusiasm to go out there and GIVE!
So a big thank you Bob.
I believe in the power of mantras. Your blogposts are full of them. And your titles embody their force.
And, from the post above, of all the good in it perhaps this will remain with me as most useful: ” I’ll bet there is a lot we can learn from one another.”
WOW – thank you, Wayne. Your always thoughtful letters and kind, encouraging words are more appreciated than you can even imagine. Thank you, my friend!