Monday, June 22, 2015

A Unique Selling Proposition For Your Business USP

Unique selling proposition (USP), also known as unique selling point,  unique service proposition, is a key point of difference, a strategic advantage and an identification of what it is that differentiates your business from all of the others, for your core product or service.  

Originally the term USP was coined by Rosser Reeves to use in his advertising work and to sell his book. 

Defining Your USP

Like a competitive advantage it is an element that the business can deliver - that customers value and want. It gives customers a reason to choose your business, in favour of another one, and is like a promise that your business must produce for it to be credible. And your USP should be strong to drive action. These days, the idea is often wrapped up in a sales package as "Positioning" or sometimes tied in with "Branding". 

Used in your advertising, your marketing, your sales process and your branding this USP drives the whole focus of the business and lets customers know without any doubt that you can and DO what is both stated and implied. Oh - and it has to be HONEST. 

Steps to creating a USP for your business

  1. Identify your customer 
  2. Important question here to answer is this:  Do you serve their
    1. success 
    2. desires 
    3. both 
  3. If you were a customer of your business what would you wish from your organisation?
  4.  In the eyes of your ideal customer what are your competitors doing right?  (Assumes you know who your competitors are – and if you don’t your customers DO)
  5.  Rate the needs of your customers on the issues important to them (make a list) for LOGICAL NEEDS – and  EMOTIONAL NEEDS (give examples of each)

Let's look at some examples: 

Logical needs - make a list of all that apply for your customers. Examples of these might be - Convenience, fast, on-time delivery, your products help me save time or save money, your people are reliable etc, etc 

Emotional needs - Make a list of these too, just the same as with the logical needs list: 
You care about me, you understand when I'm in a hurry, you make me feel good about myself, people meet their commitments to me, you make it easy to do business with you.

This is by no means a complete list but write down as many as you can think of and then work out a priority order from the customer's point of view.

Your products may save the customer time (a value to them), but if the price is outside of their budget (a real constraint the customer has)  that isn't going to be a value you can use. Keep eliminating until you come up with the top 3 logical and emotional responses and then refine until you have distilled the top values for your customer. 

Sorting through the data 

From here you can begin to get a clear focus on what your business can do to lead in your industry for your market by identifying what your business can do that is UNIQUE – not offered by all the others – and what you need to FOCUS ON CHANGING NOW – for that to be true and actionable. 

Now you're on your way to defining what your true USP is that you can use in your business. This also helps you stay focused. As you are considering offers and marketing, keep the USP in mind at all times and test your offers against your USP. Does it meet the standard that you have set for yourself? 

Creating a USP based on what you think your customers value won't work if you have not connected with their real priorities. These will change too - and if they valued one thing in 2010, they may have other priorities in 2015. Keep up with them! 

Once you think you  have whittled down your list of customer priorities and married them with the service you can deliver, test it out. 

Be prepared to spend some time on this to get your USP right. This may take some days to refine to be just the message you can condense into a short sharp phrase. 

Summing Up

As an exercise this is a great way to review how much you know about your customers, and that's a great start to keeping your business fresh and your customers coming in - and coming back! 


Related post 

Making the most of data in your business and understanding customer personas
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