Our title of today’s post is perhaps the single most important question that you need to answer to improve marketing and sales success. What is a unique selling proposition (USP)? According to Entrepreneur.com, the definition is: The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.
Why You Need A Unique Selling Proposition
Your USP is the epicenter of your entire marketing and sales strategy. It’s the hub from which you create all sales documentation and marketing messaging. Without a USP your company has no clear differentiation strategy and cannot effectively compete in competitive markets. For the past 20 years, I have worked with hundreds of companies to help improve their marketing and sales success and the one element critical to growth is a well-defined unique selling proposition that is true and documented.
Does A Well Thought Out USP Really Make A Differece?
It’s the products and services that clearly state their value proposition or unique selling proposition that get the most attention. This past weekend, I took my family to the Cleveland Auto Show. My wife and I were researching our next family vehicle. My wife had two clear requirements: a third row seat and anything but a minivan. This narrowed our options to about six vehicles. All of the vehicles were similarly priced, had similar features and looked pretty similar as well. However, one vehicle stood out to us: the Toyota Highlander. Why? Just as we were about to leave the show, a spokeswoman for Toyota gave a presentation on the Highlander and she talked about the safety features and ratings. I was sold. As I evaluated all of the choices, I had actually decided on another vehicle, but when I heard the woman speak about the safety of this particular vehicle, I pictured my family driving around and safety became the key factor for me. All of the auto manufacturers addressed safety in their literature, but only Toyota made a specific presentation on safety. As I think back ten years ago it was a similar USP that determined our first family vehicle, the Toyota Sienna (a minivan). My first daughter was just born and we had another on the way. Safety was and still is very important to me when it comes to my family.
Regardless of your specific needs and desires when making a purchase, any purchase, you will and usually do pick the one that is best for you. The company that hits your specific mindset gets your money. Take IKEA as an example. IKEA sells cheap furniture that you have to put together yourself. Worse yet, you have to go to one of their mammoth stores and walk through their maze of products to find what you want. The experience is pure hell for some, but for others it’s pure heaven. IKEA has a clear value proposition: good furniture, good price, and a unique purchasing experience. Sure, they turn off a majority of the people that purchase furniture, but they attract a specific few that are looking for exactly what they offer. Heck, take any successful brand and you will find that they have a strong unique value proposition.
How Do You Create A USP?
As a manufacturer you must clearly define what your USP is. The key word in this acronym is UNIQUE. What is it about your product or service that makes you stand out from the competition? Is it: quality? Cost? Geographic reach? Experience? Materials? Suppliers? Customer service? Speed? Longevity? Warranty? Niche? As a marketing veteran I can definitively state that if you do not have a USP you don’t stand much of a chance for success. After all, without one you are not providing your marketing and sales teams the ammo to land new business. Companies with strong USPs grow faster, retain good employees, have shorter sales cycles and demand higher margins.
I have seen too many companies fail to execute a strategy to define and stand on a unique selling proposition. Oftentimes these companies go out of business or continue to struggle for success. Take my advice and get your USP clearly defined and start growing your company today.