The most important thing in business and career, is standing out more favourably, strategically, and attractively in your client’s eyes. You need to present a compelling reason why clients and employers should choose you over your competitor.
The more clearly and frequently you communicate why you are a superior choice (offering more benefits, value, and bottom-line payoff), the more often they would choose you over your competitors.
But how do you always create that real or perceived superior image in your clients’ and employers’ eyes and mind? In this article we explore ways to develop a personal Unique Selling Proposition to set you apart from your competitors and attract clients by offering them a compelling and unique benefit!
What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
How do you elevate yourself or your company to a position of notable dominance over your competition? What is that one thing produces results that are drastically superior compared to that of your competition?
The secret lies in something called the Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Your Unique Selling Proposition is that distinct idea that sets your business apart from your competitor.
What makes you so different?
What makes you, you?
Applying that thought process to your company – what makes your company unique? Is it how your products work? Do you provide a service that no other customers provide? Do you go above and beyond for your customers in a way that value-adds to their life? What is so special about your company and brand?
Answering that will allow you to develop your unique selling proposition, and knowing that, will set you in the right path to securing your customers.
Examples of a Unique Selling Proposition
Unique selling propositions can come in many forms. Anything that can provide your business with an identity or a marketing angle can be used as a comparative advantage.
- They are commonly found in the form of lowest price or widest variety. This gives the customer cost-savings and options to choose from. Some companies position themselves as having the best selection or broadest array of buying options.
- Unique selling position can also be formed by quality ingredients, such as having quality ingredients for your F&B business. Your raw products for your apparel shop might also be environmentally friendly, giving you a unique marketing point and identity for your brand.
- Some companies sell their products based on a packaged image or societal expectations. This is especially effective in societies that place a lot of emphasis on status and the image of prestige, like the USA and China. Brands for luxurious handbags such as LV and Gucci often capitalise on the social status that it emits to the general public as a main selling point of their product.
- Having a form of superior service can also add to being your comparative advantage. Be willing to go above and beyond for your customers and show them that you will be willing to. This can come in many ways, such as free-of-charge consultation, installation assistance or simply answering their call for help with quality customer service.
- Keep in mind the most effective way is find a void in your industry and become exceptional in serving that niche. But beware of over-promising! Only create and market an advantage you can confidently and consistently deliver, otherwise it would be counterproductive in growing your business.
- Clients expect special services, beyond the usual “convenient location” and occasional sales, in exchange for their business. Exploit your unique advantage over your competitors. Remember the tiny fraction of all business professionals who adopt a dynamic unique advantage perform vastly better than those without one!
The key point of having a unique selling point is to identify the pressing needs that go unfulfilled within your industry. There are many areas that have potential to be used as your company’s selling point. If your industry is dominated by high prices, you could consider providing heavy discounts to new customers or long-returning customers. If your industry is providing limited options to consumers, consider finding a way to provide your customers with more choices and options. This is normally how you develop your position in the marketplace and stay relevant.
Do your customers need convenience? Provide the form of convenience that saves them time and effort. Customers would happily pay for it. This is how industry leaders such as Amazon and Uber positioned themselves in the industry. They disrupt it by being the middleman of convenience. The speed and efficiency of their services provide sufficient value to their customers to either command high prices or huge market share.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it is a worthwhile checklist for you to consider looking to find the right direction:
- A broad variety of selection.
- Heavy discounts.
- Customer assistance.
- Convenience (i.e. location, immediate delivery, multiple methods of return).
- The highest quality of products or services.
- Quick and efficient service.
- Services above and beyond the client’s expectations
- A more comprehensive warranty or guarantee beyond the norm
- Any other distinctive advantage.
The Importance of Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition needs to be the main theme of all your marketing and sales effort. It is a distinct advantage that can be used as ‘marketing ammunition’. It should be integrated into all your promotional, digital marketing, advertising and selling campaigns. It should cover most aspects of your business – your product, your values, your company’s vision and mission.
A sharpened unique selling point can help your company in more ways than you can imagine.
You unique selling proposition builds reputation.
Ask business owners to describe their unique selling proposition clearly and concisely in one paragraph or less. Any owner that fails to do so raises a potential red flag. More often than not, it is because they have not given much thought into it. They may be perfectly okay with leaving the business to rely solely upon the momentum of the marketplace. They are willing to be at the mercy of their customers. Rather than providing a form of great value, benefit, or service, they might be adopting a ‘just buy from us’ attitude.
This mindset is dangerous.
Most businesses lack a unique selling point. They craft one merely to get by. However, this glaring flaw will often reflect itself upon the business numbers. They might not receive much patronage. Their market share might be dwindling. It is no surprise. Customers see no value.
Why should they get any patronage if the company fails to offer any appealing promise. unique feature, or special service?
How different would the customer be when visiting another store?
On the other hand, consider the following:
- A widget seller pitches you a phone earpiece for $25. Their competitor, a store right across them has the same product for $30. However, instead of simply selling you the accessory, their provide you with a 12-Month warranty when you buy the widget from them. With an extra $5, on top of that, they provide you with a 24hrs refund and a one-time free-of-charge repair opportunity, should your earpiece be faulty within the next year. Who will you purchase from?
- A breakfast set costs you $10 at two dinners. However, one dinner offers you the option to pay by store credits. Store credits are given to diners who sign up for their free membership. Membership perks entails free delivery options in the future and the chance of win an attractive monthly lucky draw. Where will you dine in at?
- You have yet to check the price of two similar shirts at two different stores. However, one shop is known for their handmade fabric, in a family-owned mill, where each yard of fabric contains silk and nylon threads that are intricately worked into the fabric with artistic precision. For each shirt that they sell, a quarter of their proceeds will go towards a charity fund of your choice. Which shop will you be more inclined to?
Let’s look at some actual case studies of how companies have used their USP to propel themselves to great success.
- In California, one of the most innovative successes in the legal industry comes from this law firm known as Jacoby & Meyers. This law firm built their reputation on modestly priced fixed fees that catered towards affordability for the working-class customers. In a field where people might be afraid to approach lawyers for fear of being overbilled for hours that have no control over, Jacoby and Meyers created a safe space for customers to avoid the hefty fee or the fear of hefty fees. Customers can now approach them for legal advice without the fear of being ripped off.
- Technological juggernaut Apple built their company image based on the ecosystem that their products provide. From an iPhone to your Macbook and iPad, you have seamless transition between your files, preferences, settings across all platforms. Any user using an iPhone would hence be tempted to transit their computer and laptop usage towards the apple ecosystem.
- Common household name Dollar Shave Club entered an age-old razor industry to provide customers with a personalised shaving experience. Apart from delivering personal grooming products right to their customer’s doorstep, their razor blades and shavers are also of high quality but tagged with an affordable price tag. They built their services based on convenience and efficiency, earning them plenty of returning customers which works for their subscription business model.
Your unique selling proposition is crucial for your company’s marketing. You must clearly identify it and bring it out for your customers to see.
Firstly, what does pre-eminence mean? It refers to the act of surpassing all others, which basically means superiority and leadership in the business world. Pre-eminence marketing is another great way to develop a unique selling proposition.
Take for example, Schlitz beer. The brand is known for explaining to their clients the full brewing process of their alcoholic products. Instead of marketing their beer as “pure” like the rest of their competitors, they take the effort to show their customers how they make it as authentic as possible.
By being the first in their industry to show extraordinary and precautionary measures they took to brew their beer, they illuminated the word “pure” into a more tangible benefit. Their skilful use of pre-emptive marketing to develop their brand image paid off. Within six months of launching this marketing direction, Schlitz beer grew to solidify their place in the alcohol industry.
“The first person who tells the story, explains how, and the reasons why you execute things in a certain way, will gain pre-eminence in the market place.”
How To Develop A Unique Selling Proposition?
Developing a unique selling proposition is not easy. However, if you started off with one, marketing for your startup company will be a lot smoother and easier. Having a unique selling proposition gives your company an identity.
You can start by looking at the propositions in your competitor’s advertisements and marketing campaigns. Brainstorm on your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Capitalize on their weakness and think about how you can do things better. Analyse not just your competitors in your industry, but also potential partners in your industry’s vertical supply chain.
Network with various business owners and salespeople and ask them, “What is the main advantage of doing business with your company over your competitor?” Understand their thought process and try to apply it to your own. Developing, identifying, and incorporating your company and personal unique selling trait into everything you do is gruelling task, but I assure you it could be well-worth time.
It would help to illuminate your key differentiation and advantage compared to everyone in your industry. It could help you gain better clarity in your business vision and ideas for future growth. Lastly, it can also help you understand your company better.
Actionable Tips to Develop Your Unique Selling Proposition
- List out all the ways you could improve un your competitors’ unique advantages.
- List any niche advantages you already possess.
- List of your most important retailers, suppliers, vendors, and businesses in your professional life.
- What is the main reason you prefer dealing with these stakeholders over their competitors?
- Pinpoint this benefit and see if you could apply it to your own business.
- Record the biggest successes you know or see in any field. What’s their USP to their client market? Is there anything you can directly or indirectly apply to your own business?
Once you understand, start zooming in on and promoting these unique advantages or benefits, you can offer your clients or employer. Gather your marketing departments for a meeting. Have more brains work on the idea of a company image and branding.
Launch campaigns to promote this image and spread the awareness of your company’s new direction, internally within your staff and externally towards your target audience.
Have these PR marketing campaigns align themselves with your product campaigns. Syncing up your campaigns could help you achieve your desired results much faster.
How Do I Promote My Business?
After finding your area of expertise, the next step is to grow that area of expertise. You start growing your unique selling point internally.
Make sure you to train all your employees to consistently deliver high levels of quality or service. Put in place a system to have quality control or audit checks to ensure strict adherence to a distributed set of clear guidelines. You want your whole company to live and breathe your company’s ideals and belief.
Not in a dictatorship-type of way, but in a utilitarian way. Only with a coherent company will you be able to pilot the ship forward with the least amount of hiccups. Like organs in a body, your company’s multiple departments need to oil well for the company to function.
Identify any forms of marketing gaps or operational flaws. Combine and integrate one marketing gap with another. One common overlooked aspect of a unique selling proposition lies in its integration with the company’s moving parts.
You unique selling proposition needs to be incorporated into your marketing campaigns, and shared among your staff, from top to bottom. You can’t underestimate the importance of getting everyone in your firm to buy into your company’s vision and mission. It takes only one telephone salesman to betray your customer’s trust if he fails to deliver on your company’s promise.
Conversely though, your marketing campaigns will be irresistible when they project an image that’s also carried out by every employee of yours. This form of reputation is something that is travelled through word of mouth, and it’s something that is built, rather than purchased.
It’s a valuable source of identity that only industry leaders get to enjoy, but it all starts with delivering a promise to your customers to gain their faith and trust.
Growing Your Main Selling Point Within Your Company
Actions speak louder than words. Guide your staff members to be aligned with your company’s goals. Remember – you want to integrate a powerful Unique Selling Proposition into every aspect of your communication with prospects and customers. Your staff members are these points of communication between your prospect and your company.
Provide your staff with clear, simple guidelines for responding to various scenarios that the prospects might spur onto them. Regulate and check your customer-service staffs performance to verify that the essence of your company is being conveyed, communicated and carried out in the most professional way.
For example, if an angry customer calls to complain about a product or service, it’s vital that your customer service staff members do much more than take their name, number, and dispatch a serviceperson. They must emphasize on the phone that your company’s customer service is your flagship selling point, and that they’ll leave no stone unturned in order to solve your customer’s worries. The customer-service representatives, then, should follow up to ensure that service ls performed. After which, they should call the customer after the repairs have been made to convey their concern that your company’s promise has been fulfilled, and the customer’s problems have been solved.
Now that is an example of a perfectly integrated quality service USP that is being embedded into the company’s operations.
Your unique selling point should be an appealing idea that sets your business apart from your main competitors and one that makes you well known to your target audience. Using it, you pilot your marketing campaign’s direction. Your day-to-day operations should also be built upon and aligned with your unique selling proposition.
Ultimately though, do not adopt a unique selling proposition that you have difficulty developing. Failing to deliver on your promises is hefty marketing damage that most businesses are unable to afford.
Marketing is a lengthy road. But it shouldn’t be a lonely one. Consider hiring us as your marketing consultant.
Leading Solution aims to be your lifelong marketing expert on all your digital marketing channels. Let us build the foundations of your digital marketing as we share our knowledge with you.