The key to effective selling is what advertising and marketing professionals call a “unique selling proposition” (USP). Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique and makes you stand out from your competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.
So what is USP?
USP is the reason presented by the seller that a product or service is different from and better than that of the competition. This is the benefit that your customer or client receives that makes your business stand out. It’s what makes you different and earns you a special place in the minds of your potential customers.
The point is, differentiating your business is a Good Thing, whether you’re talking about the business itself, your products or your marketing. Think about it from your customer’s point of view. With tens or hundreds of potential options out there, you have to answer the question, “why should I buy from you?” If you don’t answer that question quickly and effectively, your potential customers will move on.
USP Is Not About Being the Best
Having a great product or superb content is probably not enough of a difference to make your business stand out. In most markets, having a great product is just the price of admission.
When you’re small, it’s hard to compete on product or content quality alone. You need to change the conversation. Instead of screaming “hey, look at me, I have great stuff too,” you want to confidently say, “hey, I’m all about X, we do things differently. If you’re into X, we’re the only place you can get it.” The answer is that you don’t compete at all. Instead, you become the best at something no one else is attempting.
Discovering Your Unique Selling Proposition
There are a lot of different approaches you can take to discovering your USP which might end up being a combination of things. There’s no one right answer and depending on what business you are in, even a small amount of differentiation could lead to a much greater shot at success.
Here are a few simple ways to differentiate your business. These aren’t the only ways, but it’s a starting point to get you thinking.
Use Your Personality
If you’re running a very small business or are the primary owner of your business, sometimes your personality alone can be a powerful difference. You have to have a personality that resonates with people to pull this off however. Putting your personal stamp on many aspects of your business will allow you to create something no one can directly compete with.
Explore The Intersection Of Ideas
Interesting things happen at the intersection of ideas. Mix collective buying power with the social web and you get Groupon. Mix retail buying with the web and you get Amazon. Think about the industry your business is in, and what you could add to the mix to make it more interesting and unique. It doesn’t require inventing something new, just combine two things you already know about.
Narrow Your Target Market
You can choose a narrow target market who has never had a business like yours cater specifically to it. For example, become a Financial Advisor just for Registered Nurses (RN), or a CPA just for Restaurants or an Event Planner just for large outdoor events. Think about this from the customer’s standpoint. If you were a RN and need help with financial advice, you would be inclined to choose that person who that specializes in RN.
The other benefit of specializing in a narrow market segment is that promotion becomes much easier. You know where to find your target market and you will better know what marketing message will be appealing.
Finally, Remember You’re Not Trying to Appeal to Everyone
As you begin to develop your USP it might seem like you are leaving out some potential customers as it is a natural tendency to want to please everybody. But when you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing no one. The goal of your USP is to connect more strongly with some people, and not so much with others. This is what you want because when you connect strongly with a smaller lucrative market your revenues will increase quickly.