The biggest question in your prospects’ minds when deciding which company to hire is “Why should I choose you to help me over every other option out there?” One way to answer this is by crafting a “unique selling proposition,” a concise statement that stresses the core benefits of working with you.
The concept of the USP started with adman Rosser Reaves back in the ’60s. He wanted a short sentence that would make the products he was advertising memorable to his audience. What he wanted to do was tell prospects the reason why his product existed.
You’ve probably heard the following USPs:
- Dominos: Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.
- Palmolive: Softens hands while you do dishes.
- FedEx: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
- GEICO: We’ll help you save you up to 15 percent or more on car insurance
Each of these highlights a core benefit of a product or service.
4 Characteristics of a Unique Selling Proposition?
Your USP must position you uniquely in your market and be beneficial to your prospects. It’s not enough to just be unique or different from your competitors. You must also position yourself in a way that’s beneficial to your niche.
If your prospects don’t see your USP as beneficial, then it won’t do much for you, so look at your marketplace and your competition. What aren’t they doing for prospects? What aren’t they explaining clearly to prospects? Look for the glaring holes and aim to fill them. Your USP should be based on:
- who your target audience is
- what you’ll do for them
- why that’s different from what others are offering
- why that solution matters to your target audience
Here are four steps to creating your USP:
1 – Brainstorm.
The first step to creating your USP is to write down whatever comes to mind when you think about your business. What are you most proud of? How do you enhance your clients’ lives? What do your best clients say about you? Where does your expertise lie? Try filling out the following statement:
“I help _____________your target audience______________
who are struggling with__your target audience’s problems______________
by ______________________ your solution______________________.
For instance, _____give an example of a success story__________________.”
2 – Shorten and clarify.
For your USP to be effective, you must be able to explain it in a short sentence or two. To that point, you’ll probably need to sit down and write a few pages about what you do, who your competition is, what market you’re in, what your prospects want, what needs aren’t being fulfilled, and even the history of your business. The goal is to eventually craft a concise statement that addresses prospects’ needs and clearly explains why you are the go-to company for a specific niche audience.
3 – Be able to prove what you say.
Bragging won’t sell your services. People are skeptical and to them, you are an unknown. They don’t know your reputation or success record. For all they know, you could be blowing a lot of hot air and wasting their time.
Instead of bragging, get good client testimonials that describe how great a job you did, how easily you solved their problem, how clearly you explained the steps in the process, how frequently you were in contact with them, and ultimately, how much time or money they saved by working with you. People are much more likely to believe what other people say about you than what you say about yourself.
4 – Test your USP.
The only way you’ll know if your USP resonates with your target audience is to test it. That means getting it in front of your potential prospects. Don’t bother asking friends for comments. They aren’t your niche prospects. They aren’t looking to hire you. And when they view your USP, they are looking at it in a vacuum, not the environment where you’ll actually use it.
Instead, try putting it on your blog or website, in your newsletters, or in your ads or mailings. Another great place to test it is by running a pay-per-click campaign with Google Adwords. You can run a campaign with a few different variations of your USP for a week or two to collect data. Then compare which ad campaign is getting the most click-throughs. Once you find something that’s working, you can try the USP in your offline advertising.
While crafting your USP, look at both your prospects’ biggest frustrations and what your competition is saying. Your USP should address those concerns and explain why you’re the best company for the job. Because you understand them. Because you’ve been in their shoes. Because you have the passions, skills, knowledge and success record they’re looking for.