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.