Unique Selling Proposition Definition: The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition. entrepreneur.com
What do you answer when someone asks you about your business? Do you ramble on and on and stumble as you try to express the benefits of your product or service?
Or, do you have a succinct and powerful answer that quickly and clearly conveys what makes your company stand our from your competitors? You know, your unique selling proposition, or USP.
If you don’t have one, you need to. Yesterday.
Your competition probably already has one. Your prospective customers need one: they want to know why they should be buying from you—and not the other guy. Your customers could use one when they try to make referrals.
Your USP simply describes your unique selling proposition, the “why you” part of the sales equation. Having a compelling unique selling proposition is really important.
Defining what makes your business stand out, and what it stands for, is essential because it sets you apart from your competitors. It becomes not only how you market and promote your business, but what it will become known for.
Getting—and holding—your customers and prospects’ attention becomes more challenging every day. They, like all of us, are inundated with advertising and marketing messages. Not to mention all of the online clutter of overflowing email inboxes, cute family photos, adorable ca images and funny videos.
If you can’t clearly communicate what sets your business apart and why your customers and prospects want to buy from you, you stand a good chance of getting lost in the crowd.
“In a world where customers tend to be pre-occupied, distracted and spoilt with choice you need a USP that connects instantly,” says Didi Zheleva, in a post for intouchcrm.com. “…A defined USP means that you can shape the market’s view of your business. You control your position on the market and how you are being perceived.”
Your USP serves as the foundation of your marketing strategy because, in its development, you will have asked and answered critical questions about your business, your customer base and the marketplace you operate in. Additionally, the process of creating your unique selling proposition can help you identify gaps in the marketplace where you may be able to provide solutions your competitors are not offering.
Effective marketing begins with the answers to these questions:
- What does your business do?
- Who are your competitors?
- Who are your customers?
- What problems do your products or services solve for them?
- Why do your customers buy from you?
- What are you trying to accomplish with this marketing initiative?
“People will travel farther, expend more energy, and spend more money to obtain satisfaction of a need, “ says Small Business Growth Marketing Expert, Beth Agnew. “The more pressing the need, the more a customer will seek out a means to meet that need…the customer who is acutely aware of their problem will immediately identify your product or service as the solution they’ve been looking for if only you communicate it to them correctly.”
Six Simple Steps to Developing Your USP
Think developing your USP is difficult, time consuming and downright painful? It doesn’t have to be. Follow these six steps to quickly create that USP.
1) Know your customers.
Who are your customers? What are the pain points your product or service solves? What do your customers like and dislike? Where can you find them online and offline?
You probably already know these answers but may not have taken the time to really think about them. Knowing your customers and what keeps them up at night and how your product or service solves their problems provides the background for developing your USP.
2) Know your industry.
What are the current industry trends? Who is your biggest competitor? What do they do well? What do they do poorly? Where are the gaps in the industry? How does you product or service compare?
You may also have thought about these answers. The answers to these questions will help you frame the first part of your USP—the “Unique” part.
3) Describe what makes your product unique in the marketplace.
What does your product or service do better, or differently or faster or cheaper than your competitors? Does it taste better? Does it help your customers lose weight or gain wealth or become healthy?
Take the time to list the truly unique characteristics of your product or service. This is where the first two answers will come in handy. You’ll know how you stack up against your competitors and where your industry is going as well as why these things matter to your customers.
4) List the benefits of your product or service.
Take the factors that make it different and look at how those benefit your customers. This is how you sell, by educating people about the benefits—what your product or service does to help them solve their problems. Then make it irresistible.
5) Offer proof.
People want to feel they can trust you. Offer them some proof. Highlight aspects of your experience solving your customers’ problems. If possible, use customer testimonials in some way. This helps a prospective customer feel they can trust in your solution and encourages them to purchase, or learn more about your company so they can purchase sometime in the future.
6) Convert the information to a few sentences you can easily remember.
Take the answers you’ve put together and distill them down into one or two sentences you can practice until they roll off your tongue. Think in terms of brevity, power and clarity. Then take the sentence or sentences and run them by several people whose opinions you value. Pay attention to their feedback, but also listen to your gut. You know you customers, your industry and your company—ask yourself: does this USP get the job done?
If the answer is yes, take your new USP and use in all of your customer communications. Rehearse saying it and fall asleep thinking it. A well-crafted USP will serve as a foundation for future business growth.