Strengthen your position by defining your Unique Selling Proposition
The single most important part of growing your business. What your USP should answer. And the only 3 ways to craft a winning USP.
A strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the single most important part of growing your business. Without a USP, you will always have to compete on price...and without some structural cost advantage (like Walmart with their strong bargaining power), there will always be someone that can beat you on price.
If you can craft a powerful USP, you customers will start to seek you out, paying your what you are worth...because you are the only place they can get what they need.
Your USP should answer:
Why do people buy from you?
If they aren't buying from you, why should they?
You can craft your USP in any of these three ways:
Price leadership - if you have a structural advantage that will allow you to always have the lowest price (and still make enough profit to make it worthwhile), then you can become the price leader in your industry
Differentiate your business - focus on one attribute and do it better or different to your competition (but in a way that is relevant to your customer). For example: "best selection of products", "open 24/7", "5 year guarantee", "last 10 times longer than competing products"
Focus on one specific segment of a larger industry, and then differentiate yourself only in that segment. For example: "cheapest prices in Small Town, USA", "top selling sales training for carpet cleaners"
Some examples of strong USPs:
Zappos.com, the famous online shoe store, focused their entire business on customer service, making exceptional customer service their brand. Many customers would only buy shoes online from Zappos, because they were sure that they were going to get great service.
Dominoes pizza, with their USP "Delivered in 30 minutes or it's free", changed the pizza delivery industry and ultimately became so successful that their USP became illegal. But today, if you order a pizza and it gets to you before it is cold, then you can thank Dominoes and their original USP.
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by looking at your current marketing: What headlines are working well? What benefits or features are producing results in your marketing?
3 ways to create a competitive advantage: lowest price, do something better and different to your competition, or focus on a small segment of your market
Use your marketing to highlight the reasons why your Unique Selling Proposition is important to your customer, and why it is important when buying your type of product. What happens if they buy from your competitor that don't offer this?
The most impactful business growth activity: Create a Unique Selling Proposition for your business, and then integrate it into all of your marketing and sales processes.
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition thinking about your selection: Do you have a broader selection of products than your competitors? Do you have exclusive rights to desirable brands? Be specific about what makes your selection unique.
Your Unique Selling Proposition is the reason your customers buy from you, so should focus on a benefit to the customer
If you don't have a way to make your product unique, then work on creating an Extra Value Proposition - add value to your offering to differentiate
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by thinking about your staff: What special abilities do your staff have? What makes them unique? Any special expertise? Do they speak foreign languages that might benefit your customers?
Once you have your Unique Selling Proposition, all your advertisements should focus on explaining why it is unique and how it benefits your customers
Compare your business' Unique Selling Proposition against your competitors by using a Market Matrix: list the main factors you compete on (Price, Quality, Service, Selection, etc), list all the competitors, and see where the gaps are.
Your Unique Selling Proposition needs to be specific - not "Fast Service", but "We will fix your air conditioning in 2 hours, or we won't charge you. We can do this because we have 29 trucks and 58 technicians on-call. If we can't fix your problem immediately, we'll provide you with a portable unit while we work on yours."
Your Unique Selling Proposition is the reason why people buy from you: Be clear about that and communicate it to all your prospective customers.
Create your business Unique Selling Proposition by finding out what makes your business unique. What are the "features" of your business? What benefits do each of the features have for your customer? How do they help solve your customers' problems?
Use your Unique Selling Proposition in all your marketing: Your USP becomes the headline, the support and proof for your USP becomes the body of the ad.
You should be able to express your business' Unique Selling Proposition in 90 words or less - a simple statement of what makes you different, and why that is important for your customer
Always verify that what you think your business' Unique Selling Proposition is actually unique: Research your competitors, determine their USP, and ensure that yours is different.
Always ensure that what you consider to be your business' Unique Selling Proposition is in line with what your customers think: Phone them and ask them why they choose to do business with you!
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by looking at your customer service: Do you have a better system for dealing with customer complaints? Do you educate your customers better? Any other value added service your provide?
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by looking at how customers interact with your business: Do you make it easier for customers to do business with you? Do you educate your customers, or provide free consultation? Do you offer better terms, or longer hours?
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by focusing on your guarantee: Do you offer a better guarantee than your competitors? Longer terms, or more risk reversal? How can you improve your guarantee to stand out even more?
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by focusing on delivery: What makes the delivery of your product special? How do you deliver your product in a way that benefits your customers, and different to your competitors?
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by focusing on quality: What are the unique characteristics of your product process? What specifically are you doing that makes your product of exceptional quality?
A good Unique Selling Proposition needs to be something that you do differently than your competition...and something that your customer actually wants.
Optimize your marketing and sales process: Prospect, Qualify, Present, Close. Improve a small amount in each of these areas for exponential growth.
Create your Unique Selling Proposition by asking: Why should someone should buy from me? What makes me a better choice than my competitors?
Your Unique Selling Proposition needs to be reviewed on a regular basis, and needs to change based on customer demand, and on what your competitors are doing.
Don't use a Unique Selling Proposition that your business cannot fulfill: An "Anti-USP" can destroy your business.
Before your business can grow consistently, you need a sustainable, defensible and desirable differentiator
A Unique Selling Proposition is the bedrock of a successful business - all your marketing and sales processes should be build upon the reason that people should buy from you
A Unique Selling Proposition is not a slogan, it is a simple statement telling people what you sell, in terms that matter to your customer
Having a strong Unique Selling Proposition allows you to get out of the price battle...a USP means you don't have to lower your prices (instead you can often increase them)
A good Unique Selling Proposition should be clear, offering specific results that your customer will get from buying from you: "We deliver in 30 minutes, or it is free"
A Unique Selling Proposition should be specific: Not "We offer high quality furniture", rather "We only use mahogany wood timber, and craft our furniture on-site, designed by a well-known local artist"
The smaller your company, the more you need a clearly defined Unique Selling Proposition...you will always lose out to bigger companies when competing on price
There are 3 ways to create a competitive advantage: lowest cost, do something different than all your competitors, or focus on a narrow market segment (like a specific geographical area, or a specific niche)
Example of USP for auto repair shop: "We offer a full workmanship guarantee - if a problem arises after we work on your car, bring it back for a free, no-cost adjustment"
Example of classic Unique Selling Proposition based on quality: Tylenol, "the pain reliever hospitals use most"
Do not promote an Unique Selling Proposition that you can't deliver on, as that can destroy your business
For business growth, the biggest impact, for the least amount of cost you can make, is to create a Unique Selling Proposition, and then integrate it in all your marketing and communication
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by thinking about the owner - does the owner have any special expertise, or have they received any special awards or credentials that the competitors don't have?
Get more prospects, convert more prospects into customers and increase your average customer value by creating and communicating your business' Unique Selling Proposition
What makes the product or service you sell unique? What is different about the way you do things, compared to your competitors? And most importantly...are you communicating this in all your marketing and communication with customers?
Why do small businesses fail? Research shows it is either due to inadequate capitalization...or failure to understand the market for your product. Why should people buy from you?
Example of USP for Furniture Manufacturer: "We only use high quality oak, not particle board like our competitors, and we manufacture everything in-house, spending enough time to ensure that the furniture is high quality and will last a lifetime"
Discover what makes your business unique by asking your staff "Why do you think customers are buying from us?"
Discover your Unique Selling Proposition by surveying and talking to your current and past customers, to find out why they are buying from you, and why they are buying from your competitors.
Example of USP for Computer Sales Shop: "We offer free install of new computers, and free training to your employees on how to use the computer, along with a dedicated phone consultation line."
Differentiate on quality - in what specific ways is your quality better than your competitors? Do you use higher quality materials, or more intricate manufacturing process?
Discover your business' Unique Selling Proposition by studying your competitors to determine what you are already doing differently than them
Get buy-in from all your staff before starting to promote a new Unique Selling Proposition - ensure everyone is onboard and able to deliver
An Unique Selling Proposition can be dangerous if done incorrectly - it is critical that you can deliver on any promises you make in your USP.
Example of Unique Selling Proposition for Auto Repair Shop: We track and manage your car's maintenance schedule so we know exactly when it needs its scheduled and recommended maintenance checkups. This can save you $500 to $1000 in repairs over the lifetime of your vehicle.
Example of Unique Selling Proposition for a clothing store: "We offer the greatest selection in town, with more than 300 different coats in stock and exclusive distribution rights to X brand of clothing"
Classic example of a Unique Selling Proposition that changed an entire industry: Dominos - "if we don't deliver your pizza in 30 minutes or less, it's free"
All your marketing should focus on sharing your Unique Selling Proposition, explaining why it is critical to anyone buying your type of product, and its benefits to your customer
Frame the buying decision in terms of your Unique Selling Proposition, contrast what you do with your competitors that don't offer the same benefits.
Create your brand in your customer's mind by always including your Unique Selling Proposition - the reasons why customers should buy from you - in all your marketing.
Differentiate your business based on service, by providing a specific service to save your customer money or headache, that your competitors do not offer
If you want to differentiate your business by being cheaper than your competitors, ensure you have a structural cost saving advantage, like reduced overhead of increased efficiency
Great way to differentiate your business is by offering a better guarantee than your competitors (most companies just offer the manufacturer guarantee, can you do better?)
One way to differentiate your business - focus on your selection, do you have an unusual selection of products that customers can't find anywhere else?
Your business should not try to be all things to all people...rather clearly state what makes you different and who you focus on helping
Talk to former and current customers, and ask them why they do business with you. Also, if they are doing business elsewhere, why? Can you fill that need?
Ask your staff why they think your customers buy from you. Do they know of any differentiators that you aren't aware off?
Find out what your competition is ignoring - selection, discounts, advice, quality, service, convenience - then make that your differentiator
Grow your business by doing something that your competitors are not doing: what can you do right now that offers something none of your competitors offer?
Your Unique Selling Proposition should be something desirable to your customers, something that your competitors are not doing well...and something your staff can fulfill
Differentiate your business: Create your Unique Selling Proposition by asking your staff, your customers and researching your competitors.
Focus on becoming the market leader in one small segment of your industry, and leverage that to dominate your entire industry
Easiest way to differentiate your business is to focus on dominating one small segment of your industry and then build from there
Differentiate your business by doing something better or different than your competition (longer hours, higher quality, more selection, better guarantee)
Having the lowest price is a great way to differentiate your business...if you have a structural cost saving advantage (eg lower overhead, efficient manufacturing)
If your business does not differentiate, then your customers will revert to choose the lowest cost option
To grow you business, first answer "Why do people buy from me?" and "If they aren't buying yet, why should they?"