When you go to see a doctor, the first question she will ask you is ‘‘How can I help?” A therapist ‘So how have you been since we last talked?’ A coffee shop barista ‘’Would you like chocolate on that Sir?’.
Well, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting a marketer to talk shop about getting more customers; chances are one of the first questions she will ask you is ‘’What exactly is your Unique Selling Point?’’ Or – if it’s been a long day – she’ll cut to the chase and ask – ‘’what is your USP’’?
So this is a heads up – be prepared – will you know the answer?
It isn’t so you get full marks from Ms Professional Marketer. It’s important because she knows helping to identify your Unique Selling Proposition, and ensuring you use it throughout your communications, will enable you to compete effectively.
Because your USP will help you to stand out from the crowd like nothing else. Ergo, it will help you get potential customers to want to buy from you and not your competitors. Not forgetting, your existing customers to come back for more.
So what exactly is a Unique Selling Point or USP?
Quite simply, it’s where you are different to your competition, whether it’s being better, cheaper, or something else entirely.
It’s the stuff you really want to – and ought to – shout about on your website and beyond.
To save you time, let’s first of all eliminate what it isn’t.
It is not a snazzy website , a cool brochure, or even a product with great features or a service offering.
It also isn’t about being different for the sake of being different either. You may be different being the only vendor selling beef meatballs at a vegetarian fair, but is this what the potential buyers would want?
And it certainly isn’t about having to create or offer something new from scratch.
You’ll be glad to know it’s a lot simpler than that.
Your USP is a remarkable benefit which ONLY YOU OFFER to customers.
Here are some examples of USP’s to help inspire:
- Domino Pizza’s has a USP of promising to deliver its Pizza’s within 30 minutes.
- John Lewis’s USP is superior quality of service and products tied in with the promise of ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’.
- A local grocer competing with a large supermarket – can have a USP of free delivery to a customer’s doorstep and or selling fresh local produce only.
How to define your USP.
Still not sure what your USP may be? Here’s a simple technique adapted from the Chartered Institute of Marketing to help identify yours:
1 Look at your most profitable product or service and list all of its features (technical, functional, service, quality, delivery, pricing and so forth).
2 Now ask yourself how each feature benefits your customer.
3 Next, for each benefit give a mark out of 10 for it’s level of importance to a customer.
4 Alongside each benefit, note how it compares to your competition. Whether each benefit is standard (everyone offers it) or different.
5 It’s within the latter category, you’ll find your USP – waiting to be taken full advantage of.
6 And don’t forget, you can repeat this process for each of your products and services. So who knows, you might just end up with more than one!
What to do if you think you don’t have a USP…. yet.
If having done the exercise you’ve found you actually don’t have a USP. Then this is the perfect opportunity to start thinking about where you can develop one to gain advantage over your competitors.
Start by getting feedback from your customers, your sales team (if you have one), and look at your competition. If for example, your customer will benefit from the peace of mind they will get from a lifetime guarantee and your competition don’t offer one, then this is a USP for the taking.
And once you’ve defined your USP, the next step is to make sure it is clearly communicated to your customer. Saving them the time when they are deciding which product or service to go for.
So now you know how defining your USP can help your business stand out from the crowd…
What exactly is your USP?
Answers on a postcard please. Or better still, in the comment box below:)