How To Create A Good Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The second most important thing you must do to grow your business is to construct your own “Unique Selling Proposition” – get this right and your targeted prospects (your niche) won’t be able to resist your product or service!

What would be your answer to this question…

“What’s the one unique thing you offer that makes your prospects think – wow, I must have this product or service?”

If you’re like 99% of people running a business your answer will be at best – very vague. Few people spend the time to articulate what it is they do that is so unique and special for the client or customer.

If you can’t accurately describe this uniqueness to your prospects, what chance have they got to find out what you offer – over and above your competitors?

USP is the one real benefit that differentiates you from your competition in the mind of your prospect. It’s all about what the prospect receives – what result they get from you – what it is that’s going to make a positive difference to their life.

If your prospect can immediately see what it is you do that is so unique and they find it irresistible – you’ve created the perfect USP.

One more point to add. You can have a unique benefit that may not actually be unique, as long as it is PERCEIVED to be unique. Let us explain…

Very few companies communicate their uniqueness. Therefore even if one of your competitors offers what you offer, the chances are, they don’t tell anyone about it. Therefore as far as your prospect or client is concerned this IS unique.

To help you understand this further we’ll tell you a classic story that dates back to the 1920’s in the USA…

A beer company called Schlitz Beer was at the time an unsuccessful brewing company lying a lowly 8th in their market. They went to number 1 in six short months by using a perceived USP that wasn’t unique.

Here’s what happened…

During this time there were eight or nine different brewing companies aggressively competing for the same market. Everyone was communicating the same message that their beer was the purest. They didn’t explain what pure meant to the beer drinker, they just kept saying that it was pure, pure, pure. Unfortunately for Schlitz they were losing ground.

Luckily for them they were introduced to Claude Hopkins - one of true greats of marketing. Many of his strategies are still being used today. Claude asked to be taken around their manufacturing plant.

Like all good marketing people he wanted as much background information as possible.
As he was being shown around the Schlitz plant he was amazed at how they made their beer.

First and foremost their facilities were right on the base of Lake Michigan. Back in the early twenties this water was very pure. Despite this, Schlitz sunk two 5,000-feet deep artesian wells on the shores because they had to go deep enough to find the right combination of water with the mineral content to make the best possible beer.

They explained how they went through 1623 different tests and experiments over 5 years to identify the finest mother yeast cell that could produce the richest taste and flavour. They showed him the intricate process of distillation of the water where it was heated to 5,000 degrees F, and then cooled down and condensed. They carried out this process three times to ensure the water was absolutely purified.

They talked about the bottling process where they steamed each bottle at temperatures of 1600 degrees F to kill all bacteria. They finished by telling Claude they had every batch tasted to make sure it was indeed pure and rich before they would even bottle it and sent it out the door.

Claude was staggered. The lengths Schlitz went through to purify their beer was amazing. He said to them, “Why don’t you tell people this story?” They replied by saying, “Everybody goes through this process, it’s not unique –  it’s what must be done to ensure the beer is so pure.”

Claude replied by saying, “No one knows about this. The first person who tells this story will gain distinction and pre-eminence in their market place from then on.”

Schlitz was the first and only beer company that ever told the story of how their beer was formed. It made the word “pure” take on a totally different meaning in the eyes of their prospects and customers.

The impact was instant and remarkable. A rise to number 1 from number 8 in just six short months. That’s the power of USP and perceived USP!

USP really is one of the most powerful concepts you can apply to your business! The good news is that it’s actually quite simple to create!

So how do you create your USP?

There are several simple stages you’ll need to go through before being able to articulate your USP. Here’s what we’ll be covering together…

  • Step 1: Understand that you’re not selling a product or service, you’re selling a major solution to your niche’s most pressing problem(s).
  • List the problems faced by your specific niche(s) and explain HOW you solve them
  • Step 2: In an ideal world what would your chosen niche(s) want from your type of product or service?
  • Step 3: Defining your USP - The two simple elements of USP
  • Step 4: Refining your USP
  • Step 5: Testing
  • Step 6: Refine (if necessary)
  • Step 7: Using your USP

Let’s now take each step one at a time…

Step 1: Understand that you’re not selling a product or service; you’re selling a major solution to your niche’s most pressing problem(s).

Think about the following situation…

You’re out for a business lunch and someone who you’ve been speaking to asks you this very familiar question…



“What do you do for a living?”

Now if you’re a solicitor or a printer we’re almost certain you’ll answer in this way…

“I’m a solicitor”
“I’m a printer”

These are very common replies, and explain why most people ‘switch off’ after asking this question.

What you must realize is that when you answer in this way you’re saying what you ARE, rather than what you DO FOR YOUR CLIENTS OR CUSTOMERS! There’s a massive difference.

The good news is this…

All your competitors answer in this way. All your competitors don’t have a USP. All your competitors are selling is the ‘product’ or the ‘service’ and not the result!
To show you what we mean let’s take the two examples above and add a USP…

Solicitor – “I help people separate within 12 weeks and as amicably as possible”

Printer – “I help people sell more of their products or services using innovative and cost-effective printed materials”

In essence your USP completely focuses on what you do for your specific niche(s). It is the major benefit.

By focusing on your clients or customers most pressing problems you can uncover your major benefit.

Think about your prospects and clients fears, obstacles and problems. How does your product or service reduce or eliminate these fears? For example, a telemarketing service company would say the major problem their prospects and clients have is…

They can’t generate enough leads or enquiries themselves

Here’s how you’d then turn this problem into a powerful benefit…

Problem: They can’t generate any leads or enquiries

Benefit: We help businesses generate high quality leads

Do you see how easy this is?

So having identified the major problem your product or service solves for your chosen niche(s), write the corresponding benefit down.

That’s one powerful way of creating your USP. But don’t stop there. We need to first explore another very profitable method…

Step 2: In an ideal world what would your chosen niche(s) want from your type of product or service

Some of the greatest businesses in the world were founded on such thinking…

Fed Ex (next day delivery guaranteed), Microsoft (to make the computer accessible and easy to use for everyone), Dominoes Pizza (red hot pizza delivered to your door in less than 30 minutes).

Can you inexpensively reposition your basic offer to meet your clients or customers major need?

If so write it down using the benefit approach we used in Step 1.

Step 3: Defining your USP – The two simple elements of USP

You should now be left with a fairly short list of options. That’s okay. Now we need to start adding power to your USP. Once you’ve gone through this stage, if you have two or more options you’ll quickly be able to determine which USP really stands out.

Here are the two simple elements of USP…

1.    Focus The Opening On Your Niche And Combine With An Action Word:
2.    The first part of your USP tells what you do and WHO you do it for. The ‘who’ is of course your chosen niche(s).

Please Note:

If you’ve chosen two or more niches that’s okay, but you need to create a specific USP for each niche!

The key is to use a powerful action word with your niche to make the opening powerful.

For example, action words that work well are:

help, show, support, etc.

So here are some examples of openings using this simple approach (we’re using the examples earlier for a solicitor, and a printer – notice these previous examples didn’t tie in to a niche. We did this purposely so you can see the massive effect you get when you tie your USP into your chosen niche)…

Solicitor:

“I help people…”

Solicitor now focusing on the chosen niche…

“I help unhappy couples…”

Printer:

“I help people…”

Printer now focusing on the chosen niche…

“I help small local businesses…”

3. Add The Major Benefit

The second (and final part) of your USP provides the solution to your chosen niche(s) most pressing problem or major need.

You’ve already created this part of your benefit statement, so simply add it to the opening. Here’s what we’ve got with the examples above…

Solicitor:
“I help unhappy couples separate quickly and as amicably as possible”

Printer:
“I help small local businesses sell more of their products or services using innovative and cost-effective printed materials”

Can you see how effective your USP is? Just one sentence is all it takes, and you’ve elevated yourself above all your competition!

But you’re not quite finished yet, even though you deserve a big pat on the back!

Step 4: Refining your USP

What we suggest you do now is sleep on it. Give yourself 24 hours before you come back to your USP. You’ll find you may be able to take out or change a word or two to make it punchier and more powerful.

Look for jargon words that few people understand, and replace with a simple alternative. Your USP should be clear and easy to understand!

Step 5: Testing

Next try it out on yourself. Be impartial – does your USP make you think – ‘WOW I want that!’ if not we suggest you’ve got some more work to do.

Once you’re happy with it go and show a couple of your clients or customers (if you haven’t got any clients or customers, just ask friends who have a need for your product or service. Ask them to be honest!).

Step 6: Refine (if necessary)

If changes need to be made make them and then repeat Step 5 until you’re completely happy with your USP.

Step 7: Using your USP

Having spent all this time creating your USP you now need to make sure your clients or customers and particularly your prospects know about it (remember although your USP benefits your clients – we’re concentrating on lead generation here). This is critical!

If your clients or customers and prospects don’t know about your USP there’s no point in having one!

So how do you maximize the effectiveness of your USP?

  • Keep your USP written down and read it every day. Memorise it and use it in conversation with other people. When people ask ‘What do you do?’ remember you must reply with your USP and NOT tell them what you are (an accountant, a management consultant, a printer etc).
  • Use it in any other written communication to prospects.
  • Use your USP as the headline in any of your lead generation tools (such as sales letters, ads etc).
  • It’s important you apply your USP to everything you’re doing right now, because it will have an instant impact on your business. Of course you’ll be using it from now on in almost every PMS section we’ll be covering together over the coming days and weeks, but we don’t want you to wait.

Well done!

Your USP will help you transform your business. We don’t say this lightly. Your USP can take you from an ordinary company to an extraordinary company in a few short months!

Keep using and developing your USP and your results will improve week by week!