How to Develop a Powerful (and Profitable) Unique Selling Proposition

by Eddie Reeves on

What makes you different from your competitors?

Why should your customers choose your service or product instead of others they could choose?

Why should your customers stay with you when new competitors try to get their business?

If you can’t answer those question simply, succinctly and convincingly, you aren’t likely to succeed in business – at least not for long. The efficient and effective answer to those threshold customer questions is called your unique selling proposition, or USP, and having it down cold is an absolute must.

Simply put, your unique selling proposition is what makes your business different from everyone else in your market. A strong unique selling proposition can help you attract more customers, keep them longer and command higher prices for serving them.

Some examples of powerful USPs:

  • FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
  • Walmart: “Everyday low prices.”
  • Domino’s: “Hot fresh pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or its free.”
  • TOM’S Shoes: “With every pair you purchase, we give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.”

So, now that we’ve seen some strong unique selling proposition examples, what should you bear in mind when trying to create your own USP?

Before you start thinking about which qualities set your business apart from similar companies, you need to learn absolutely all you can about your perfect customer:

  • What does your perfect customer really want?
  • How can your product or service solve their problem(s)?
  • What factors motivate their buying decisions?
  • Why would your customers choose your business over your competitors?

Key point: It’s not enough to merely target a general, broad demographic. To craft the most powerful – and ultimately, most profitable – USP, you need to narrow your focus and decide exactly who you want to sell to and why.

Explain How Your Business Solves Your Ideal Customers’ Problems

Now that you know who your ideal customer is and understand the problems they face, it’s time to tell them precisely why they should choose your business over your competitors. This step is crucial and should be decided with great care, because you are essentially making a promise.

Rosser Reeves, the famed advertising executive who is credited with originating the idea of the USP explained it this way in his pioneering book Reality in Advertising:

  1. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
  2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot or does not offer. It must be unique, either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
  3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the masses, pull over new customers to your product.

The caveat to all this is that you MUST hold true to the USP you claim. As Reeves warned, failing to do so will cause you to lose customers.

Correctly created and expertly executed, your USP will help drive great business success. Your company will distinguish itself, your employees will be aligned, your prices will be maximized and your ideal customers will clearly and quickly understand why they should choose you and not someone else.

So if you haven’t yet developed your USP, what are you waiting for?

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