Most businesses have guiding principles that outline their reason for existence. Many have spent untold hours developing their ‘MVV’ – mission, vision, and, values. It is important to have clarity on these, but the reality is that your prospects don’t pay any attention to them.
Most consist of empty buzz words like “market leader”, or “doing business with the highest ethical standards”. That’s all well and good, and your MVV can be used as an internal rally cry to align employees around a common vision.
But there’s something missing here, and it’s a particular message to your marketplace. It’s driven by the answer to this question:
“Why should I do business with you, as opposed to anyone else, including doing nothing?”
This is perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself as a business owner, yet far too many cannot provide an adequate answer.
Answering this question creates one of the most powerful assets of your business – your unique selling proposition (USP). Once identified, it is the anchor of your marketing and outreach efforts because it truly speaks to the needs of your marketplace.
Clarifying your USP shifts the focus from yourself to your customer. Your primary message is no longer about how long you’ve been in business, or that you’re family owned, or that you offer high quality products.
None of that resonates with prospects.
Your market only wants to know one thing: what’s in it for them?
What Makes a Good USP?
A good USP is geared completely towards the needs of your marketplace, and how you are uniquely positioned to fulfill those needs. It shifts your marketing message from talking about yourself to talking about what you can do for your customers. This is a powerful shift and makes selling your services a lot easier.
It also gives clarity to all employees about what to emphasize when talking to customers and prospects. Confusion drives customers away.A unified message to the marketplace – from all employees – will provide clarity and make it easier for prospects to do business with you.
What Does a USP Consist Of?
You need to think about a few important characteristics in order to create an effective unique selling proposition. These include:
- Benefits-focused as much as possible
- Specific and not overly generic
- Fill a void in the marketplace that others are not addressing
- Able to realistically fulfill the promise
There are all essential to developing a USP. For most business owners, just thinking through these questions will uncover a lot about the nature of your business and how you compare to your competitors.
When defining your USP, be sure to answer the following questions:
- Why should people do business with you and not anyone else?
- Why do people buy from you?
- If they are not buying from you, why should they?
- What do you provide that is different from everyone else in the market?
- Complete the sentence, “My company is the only business that… “
One of the most popular USPs was Domino’s Pizza: “Hot fresh pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.” This is a powerful USP and fulfills all the above mentioned criteria – it is benefits-focused, fills a void in the marketplace, and resonates strongly with the target market.
Geico Insurance: “15 minutes will save you 15% or more on your car insurance.” This USP is direct, simple, and very specific, and the marketplace responds well to it.
I hope you can see the power of a well articulated USP. It forces you to innovative and provide something of value to your marketplace that no one offers. This is not only good for the customer, but also for the long-term health of your business.
It’s important to realize that there’s a specific way of going about creating your USP, and if you don’t follow this methodology, you are likely to go around in circles and spent way too many resources developing your USP. You need input from your employees, your marketplace, a survey of your competition and more. Consider procuring outside help before diving into this process.