What’s Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?


unique selling propositionWhy You NEED a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Business and How You Get One

A USP is not just a keyword phrase that 50,000 other business are using.  And it’s not just a snappy slogan.  It’s more than that.  If you look at your various marketing activities as a synergystic thrust composed of many moving parts, your USP is your marketing spearhead. It gives you an edge. It cuts through and sticks so that everything else can take hold.

A good USP, probably better stated as a unique value proposition, is actually a positioning statement. It lets you occupy a position in people’s minds that makes it easy for them to remember you, because of something unique that distinguishes you from the rest of the crowd…

This position is sometimes referred to as “top of mind.”  When your prospects need something provided by the type of business you are in, you can capture the top position in their minds for that product or service category. And that means more business.

To occupy that position you must be able to answer these questions:  Why should people do business with you and not go elsewhere?  What real or perceived benefit do they get by giving you their business, that they don’t get by giving it to your competitors?

If you can answer those questions you have a prime candidate for your USP.

But if you don’t have a unique or compelling reason for people to do business with you instead of someone else, you just fade into the background, and much of your business goes elsewhere – unless you have a monopoly.

USP, Value Proposition, Branding, Positioning, Top of Mind…

unique selling propositionIt can sometimes be hard or confusing when trying to grasp this concept at first.  Partly because terms like USP, UVP, top of mind, positioning and branding, etc., all get mashed together.  Although they may be similar in some respects, there are definite differences that are beyond the scope of this article.

But when you think about it, what do all of those “technologies” attempt to do?  They are designed to capture a prime position in the minds of prospective customers and existing customers, and make you stand out from your competitors. So let’s keep it simple.  Simple is good. You have to provide or offer something beneficial that differentiates you from everyone else.  So we get back to the USP or UVP.

Examples of Unique Selling Propositions

The USP is often the one thing people will really remember about a company, service or product.  It sticks in their minds.  A USP can be as simple as: “We offer emergency service 24/7.”  Or, “We’re the no hassle car dealership.  One price – you know exactly where you stand.”

A pizza company was literally built around this USP: “We deliver within 30 minutes or your pizza is free.”

A dry cleaner in my area has a drive-through, drop-off. You pull up, someone comes out to your car, you hand them your clothes, they give you a ticket, and you drive off. Very convenient, especially for busy professionals and executives or moms on tight time schedules.

That drive-through feature is their USP, whether they know it or not. The benefit or “value proposition” is convenience.  It’s also a time-saver.  And they are much busier than other dry cleaners in my area.

Now these may be rather mundane examples, but we’re keeping it simple here, remember? Besides, your USP doesn’t have to be some mind-blowing, miraculous proposition, feature or benefit. But it must be something that differentiates you in a positive way.

If you can’t come up with anything, try surveying some of your clients, customers or patrons. 

unique selling propositionAsk them what it is about your business, products or services that they like over your competitors or similar businesses.  What sets you apart? Is it something you have, do or provide?

Is it your technology? Something about your designs? Your convenient location?  Your size? Your wide selection of products?  Is it your narrow selection of specifically targeted products for a select clientele? Your prices?

Whatever, it must be something that can be “owned” by you, and will be viewed by your target market as an obvious benefit of doing business with you.  And once you have identified it, and tweaked and massaged it until it can be rapidly communicated, USE IT in your marketing, promotion and sales activities.

Just don’t fall into this trap: “We’re different because we offer quality service.” People EXPECT quality service.  Who wants lousy service?  If you are known for your quality service, that’s good. That is a positioning that can build good word of mouth, which is very valuable.

But honestly, “good quality” is not unique, and it’s not something you can just shout from the rooftops.  Again, people expect good quality.

So… what’s your USP?

Written by Bob Nelson

Bob is a very experienced Marketing Specialist for both the internet and traditional methods. He is a valuable member of the Results Professional Marketing Company team.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to RESULTS PROFESSIONAL MARKETING and a clickable link back to this page.

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