Developing your unique selling proposition (USP)

Here are the steps I take and what I consider when developing my own unique selling proposition (USP)

What are my differentiators?

Why people buy my products and services; What makes my company different compared to the status quo or to my competitors: And what value do my differentiators have – tangible/quantifiable (more revenue, lessen current expenses, or avoid future expenses) and intangible (it’s cool, makes me look good, helps me professionally and/or personally, etc.

What structure do I need to communicate my USP?

In a white paper, on a web site, as a brochure, or in a press release, I think you need to go to keep the focus on the, “So what?”: what’s in it for the customer. Simply saying, “I have a new exhibit staff training DVD” is fine but then I would be leaving it up to my potential customers to figure out how it benefits them. This is better: “I have a new exhibit staff training DVD that will help your exhibit staff be more productive at your trade shows so they can have more conversations with qualified visitors, generate higher quality leads, and that should lead to more sales”.

So for every feature of my product, I need to hook it up to a benefit for the customer – tangible and/or intangible. Make this connection for them. And keep it simple. If it take you a whole page to communicate your USP, that’s too long. If you really have a compelling USP then your message can be succinct; less is more.

If you’re preparing a USP for verbal communication, like in a trade show booth, it needs to be less than 20 or 30 seconds. I like this format: 1. Say something irrefutable. “I have a new exhibit staff training DVD”. 2. Say something credible. “I’ve been doing exhibit  staff training for over 25 years for clients like HP, Microsoft, Astellas Pharma, Intel, Medtronic, and Apple.” 3. Give two or three reasons why people do business with you or two or three reasons why this new product stands out (these are your differentiators). “Most people do business with me because my training helps them generate more leads plus it’s fun and engaging.” 4. End it with an open-ended question to get the booth visitor talking. “So what brought you into my booth today.”

When delivering a verbal USP, it should be conversational and everyone should put it into their own words while still maintaining the key messaging.

I think a good methodology for the USP is to have marketing take the first hack at it and then send it around to the salespeople for their input. You probably won’t get much back, but it will at least be an offer for their contributions and will help them own the final USP.

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