In today’s post we look at the all-important USP: Unique Selling Proposition.
Also, how you can develop your USP to reach out telepathically into the minds of your customers and just like in Inception… and give ’em an idea that they think is theirs.
BTW, the idea you’re planting in your target’s minds is that they call YOU… instead of your competitors… and give ya money.
Why You Should Craft the Best USP for Your Business
Good morning, Steppers!
At least it’s morning where I am right now. Sheesh…
“Now is that 0600, in the morning, sir?”
So, the Unique Selling Proposition. Made famous by Dan Kennedy.
Y’know, there’s always lot of buzz going around about the newest social media platform, or the trendy new thing to do on ’em.
All bright, shiny objects. Every business owner’s head gets turned by:
- social media schedules and posts
- the newest sales funnel technique
- exit pop-ups
- buttons and arrows
- SEO techniques, both white-hat and black
The big problem is this:
Each of these bright, shiny objects are just ways to reach your target market.
But a tried-and-true principle that has NEVER gone out of vogue is this:
Knowing exactly what to say to your target market..!
It’s an art and science to craft the exact, brief message…
…that actually makes them want to buy from YOU.
As opposed to anyone else in your field.
Your USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, should communicate to
the world a very targeted market quickly and exactly what it is that you do… to solve their particular problem.
Your USP, if used correctly, KILLS the competition.
Because it positions you as the best and logical choice in your customer’s minds.
Like I said: Inception. Your customer thinks it’s their idea… but you put it there.
Just the Tip: Your USP Gets Things Started
Think if this was a dating situation. You want my number, right? Not making a marriage proposal.
So don’t give me a drawn-out resume. I’m not gonna decide whether to jump into holy matrimony with you just this second.
You just need a catchy pickup line. I may take a chance and slide my phone number over to ya.
So just bang out one single sentence that gets my attention enough to want to find out more.
Your Unique Selling Proposition gets you in the door; from there the quality of your service makes me a customer for life.
Let’s uncover the proven five-step formula to make a killer USP.
Crafting Your Unique Selling Proposition: You Are Your Customer’s
First Only Choice
Quality and price are NEVER how you come at your customer. Stuff that old-school marketing in “File 13”. The round file. Your trash can, mmmk?
A proper Unique Selling Proposition means that you don’t compete on price, quality… shoot, you don’t compete with others at all.
Because NO ONE offers the solution that you offer.
See if you recognize these EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE USPs… but more importantly, why they are effective:
“Hot, fresh pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”
This USP doesn’t promise the best pizza. It doesn’t even promise halfway good pizza. It promises to fill your tummy… without you having to cook… less than 30 minutes from your phone call.
“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
This USP doesn’t even address price, does it? In fact, you’d probably expect to pay a pretty penny for what it promises.
“M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand”.
Wow. Tidy chocolate.
Every mommy or chocolate-loving neatnik has their problem solved, right there.
Yes to chocolate, but no to chocolatey hands and the stains they leave everywhere? Sign me up!
Unique Selling Proposition: in a nutshell, it’s what YOU do best… that THEY want most.
Your Unique Selling Proposition Solves Their Exact Problem
Those iconic USPs above are examples of one sentence solving one problem for one set of people.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your Unique Selling Proposition is to try and be all things to all people.
“Selling” is that art of grabbing the attention of your prospective buyer and persuading them to part with their money, because what you have to offer is worth more to them than their money.
So the cardinal sin is being boring.
Look here, your USP can be a lot of things, but SELF-SERVING isn’t one of them.
I’ve seen some CRAZY-ass attempts at sounding important.. and they all but scream “Me Monster” because they don’t succinctly answer the question on everybody’s mind: “What’s in it for me?”
So slay the inner corporate chest-banging weasel in you that wants to say, “me, Me, ME!”
Shoot ‘im dead.
And next to “me” is “WE”.
Say goodbye to pointing both thumbs your own way and saying the trite, expected… but ultimately meaningless drivel.
“WE are committed to delivering world class blah, blah, blah…”
“WE leverage total full service solutions for clients blah, blah..”
“WE are all about that bass…”
If boring is the cardinal sin, overselling is a mortal sin. Customers see it coming…
… and frankly, they just ain’t buying it.
So resist the urge to tell your WHOLE story. Don’t try to tell everything that you can do.
Just promise to solve their exact problem… the biggest thing on their mind, right now… and give ’em a way to get a hold of you.
Your USP Answers Objections Before Your Customer Makes Them
Say your target customer is sitting in front of you, right now, and says they are going to buy today. Your customer asks:
“But why should I buy from you instead of your competitor?”
==> If you answer, “Because we’re the best!”
I’m going to spank your bottom and put you in time out.
Because everyone else is saying that too.
But brace yourself, because…
==> If you answer, “Because we’re the cheapest!”
I will bitch-slap you with my pimp hand.
Not only are both of these answers expected (boring), but one of them forces down the prices you can command for your services to position you lowest on the totem pole (weak sauce)!
They really don’t do a good job of reaching the customer with the right answer to this question.
The only acceptable answer to the question, “Why should I choose you over the competition?” is that you can solve a problem that I have, and no one else can solve it… or solve it as well as you.
Cultivate Your USP From Your Elevator Pitch
As my son and I were developing a mobile screen repair business, we’d use the following “elevator pitch” to justify the prices we were charging to repair a window or a screen door:
“Normally, if you can find a hardware store that still repairs screens…
…you have to borrow a neighbor’s truck if you don’t have one…”
…then figure out how to get your screens and screen doors out…”
…without damaging them…”
…then drive them once to the hardware store…”
…then wait several days for them to finish…”
…so you can take another trip to the store…”
…get your screens home and figure out how to put them back in…”
…again, without damaging them…”
…then clean up your truck (or your neighbors) for the second time.”
…OR, you could avoid all that and let us fix your screens, just minutes after we arrive.”
Now, this description does an admirable job of justifying my outrageous prices for something as mundane as repairing your screen door.
I’m not just taking out torn material and putting in new… I’m saving you from a drawn-out nightmare of minute details, dirty hands and truck, and possibly still screwing it up anyway.
Instead of all that noise… I just get your problem solved, with one phone call.
Genius, if I may say so myself.
It’s taken some time to develop this winning elevator pitch, and it sell the ish out of my local screen repair service biz… But it’s been worth it. I have to beat customers off with a stick.
But..! Good as this elevator pitch is, it’s still not a USP.
Shorten Your Unique Selling Proposition to One Powerful Sentence
I timed myself reading the above elevator pitch. 35 seconds.
Homey, ain’t nobody got time for that.
That’s great length for a radio spot… but not for a Unique Selling Proposition.
Lookee… I’m going to blatantly STEAL a fellow copywriter’s blog post, aptly titled “How to Write Well in Four Sentences”. Here goes:
Fewer words make the message clear.
When you’ve got nothing to say you try to use more words.
And find a message worth saying.
-Marek Sanders, www.creative-copywriter.net
For the screen repair business that my son and I built as part of one of the 30-Day, $1000 Challenges… we came up with a very short and easy to understand USP:
“We Come to You.”
Those four words capture the very essence of the screen repair customer’s problem.
He kinda already knows that getting screens out of their places, jammin them into his car, and going to the hardware store… TWICE… is going to be a pain in the rumpus.
So “We Come to You” makes a promise that’s music to his (or her) ears.
Is it effective?
You tell me.
I’ve been chronicling it here on Shoestring101.
In “We MADE It! $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge” I detail how this four-word USP… plus a little elbow grease… helped my 14-year old son and me turn $62.66 for six yellow signs into $1095 profit.
With only part-time work, our little enterprise made four figures in its first month.
In Another Case Study: Five Steps to Five Figures I get to brag about how that same screen-repair enterprise had its first of many $500 profit days, less than one short year later.
My teenager will never lack for gainful employment, whether someone ‘gives him a job’ or not.
Because he understands the value of the Unique Selling Proposition.
Don’t dis the USP, bro… You might be one short, powerful promise away from a gold mine.
Five Step Checklist: Perfect Your Unique Selling Proposition
Okay, so in this post you’ve not only seen why your USP is vital, but how to craft your own.
First, we’ve defined what your USP is NOT.
We don’t holler at the world, “we’re the best”, mmmk?
That’s kind of the opposite of unique, right? Just say NO to bad marketing…
…and remember the only thing worse than saying “we’re the best” is saying “we’re the cheapest”. That will only earn my pimp hand across your cheek, yo. 😎
==>Seriously: don’t test me.
Another thing to remember that your USP is NOT is a full resume. You just want to present your prospective buyer with a hook… not the line, sinker and the boat for crying out loud.
Don’t try to educate everybody on everything you do.
Just enough to make them want more.
So, now that we’re clear on what your USP is not..! Let’s get to the work of crafting the Ultimate Unique Selling Proposition for YOUR biz.
I’ve boiled it down to a simple checklist, from the “H2” headings above:
- Position yourself as the ONLY choice. Do not compete on price, quality, or anything that your competitors do. Focus on the ONE thing you do that no one else does, or does as well.
- It ain’t about you. Quit saying how great YOU are. Focus instead on what keeps your customer awake nights and fix it. Your USP contains a single statement that solves the EXACT, biggest problem coming up first in your customers’ minds.
- The USP answers objections before they are made. “Why should I choose your business over the others?” is a question that shouldn’t come up, because you’ve already addressed it.
- Keeping in mind the first three steps, write your elevator pitch. Keep it to thirty seconds or so. This is an important practice for your business anyway, but the real value comes next.
- Cull unnecessary words and even unnecessary thoughts. If there are lots of selling points pick the best. If you solve a lot of problems, pick the worst. Take this baby down to ONE sentence and don’t worry… they’ll learn all those other great things about you after the first sale.
A final note… Most of the real work happens in step four, the elevator pitch. Let steps 1-3 guide you, but actually write out your elevator pitch like so:
- What you DO
- Who you do it FOR
- Why you are DIFFERENT than anyone else in your space
- How your clients FEEL after you have done it for them
Finally, after you have a decent 30 second elevator pitch, use step five above and break ‘er down to one sentence.
Here’s mine, at the top of this page:
“I (Kurt Frankenberg) help business owners (my target market) make more bottom line profits (how do YOU feel about profits, duh) by dominating local search for free (why I’m different).”
Still a bit wordy, but I’m working on it.
Oh, and YES. It’s okay to change your USP when you find a better one.
The Most Important Part: What FOLLOWS Your USP
The most important part that follows your USP is to FULFILL the PROMISE that you make with it.
Without delivering the goods, you will forfeit your right to claim your rightful position as the top dawg in your respective niche.
So immediately following your USP… your promise… you must do a CTA.
That’s Call To Action.
If your USP is like scoring a phone number, the CTA is like going in for a kiss.
Ask your prospective buyers to do the next logical step to experience your awesomeness, up close and personal.
And do it in a way that’s completely natural, that just assumes you have provided enough information to generate enough trust to go the next step.
I Get It, Kurt– Time to Craft the Perfect USP. What Next?
That single sentence, “We Come to YOU!” has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales for just one of my local businesses. I do have competitors, but then again I DON’T… because my USP shuts ’em down.
Knowing how to develop your USP, and what to do after, is CRUCIAL to your bottom line.
I have a PDF I’d love to send you that teaches how to use your USP seamlessly lead into your call to action and more sales. I’ll just bet ya that it’ll add more umph to your bottom line, this month.
Subscribe to Shoestring101 and I’ll be happy to send it to you.