Stillwell Design Group

Unique Selling Proposition – How To Sell More Of Anything

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Your unique selling proposition is the thing that tells consumers why they should do business with you over a competitor. If there’s no difference between you and the next guy but price, you can’t win. But if you’re unique, then, by definition, you have no competitor!

Competition Isn’t Real

In order to compete with someone, by definition you have to agree to be on the same level as that person. Putting yourself on the same level as others automatically puts you in a position to compete with them for the resources available. The answer is to elevate yourself to a different level where you don’t have to compete for customers or on price.

Don’t misunderstand.

Competitors (or people who will try and compete with you) are real, but competition in essence is not. Innovators never fear competition because so few people devote any time to innovation. When I say innovation, I don’t mean that you have to create something revolutionary. I simply mean that you have to innovate within your particular market.

A lot of business owners have a follow the herd mentality. Before they do anything they have a look around at what their “competition” is doing so they can emulate it. They instantly lower themselves to the level of their surroundings and therefore have to fight or compete with the people they’re trying to fit in with for the resources available on that level. Unique Selling Proposition

Here’s Why Your Unique Selling Proposition (U.S.P.) Is So Important

Potential customers don’t want to remember a thousand things about you. They just want to remember something simple and important. And by important I mean something that’s important to them as in what you will do for them. It has to be something that’s relevant to them and their needs. Your U.S.P. isn’t about you.

Essentially it’s a strong promise to consumers that they care about. When potential customers think about you they’ll think… “Oh, you’re the people that _______________”. They’re going to fill in the blank on their own if you don’t give them something to put there instead and the thing you give them to put in that blank spot determines whether they buy from you or a competitor.

Dominating Your Market

If you can look at your product or service (even it’s basically the same as your competition) and find, create or explain the unique thing (unique as in you’re the first person to say it) about it that shows why you’re different in a way that matters to your market, you won’t have any real competition. If you can be the first to claim an advantage or product differentiation in a way that matters to consumers, you then own that advantage or differentiation.

Anyone else trying to claim the same thing is seen as a copycat and generally speaking copycats are seen as inferior. This allows you to sell more products and own that claim in the minds of consumers in your market place. It’s what you’ll be known for. You don’t need to be better than your competitors. Your marketing and advertising just needs to be better than theirs.

Using Your Unique Selling Proposition To Rise Above Competition

Examples of strong U.S.P.’s used by well-known brands to differentiate themselves from the competition and generate more business.

M&M’s M&M's Candy

“The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

This U.S.P. plays on the idea that people don’t just want to eat chocolate when it’s cold. They would run commercials about how you could eat M&M’s in the summer (because of the candy shell around the chocolate) without the chocolate melting in your hands (and presumably your purse or pocket) before you got a chance to eat them. Their U.S.P. also worked to woo candy wholesalers who may not have had air conditioned stores. That one little sentence solidified their place in the market, boosted sales and had their competitors playing catch up.

Dominos Pizza Dominos Pizza

“Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.”

They haven’t used that U.S.P. in a long time (probably because of driver & public safety concerns), it’s still recognizable as theirs. I remember when this was in use and it seemed like the ONLY pizza choice at the time for anyone who wanted pizza right now (which if you wanted pizza was everyone) was Dominos. That one Unique Selling Proposition was responsible for their rapid rise in the marketplace. Ordering from Dominos became something people looked forward to after work to see if they’d get a free pizza.

At the very least, they had something on the table fast for the family to eat without the hassle of cooking. Keep this in mind… When Dominos was using this unique selling proposition it was widely acknowledged that their pizza wasn’t the best pizza. It was just the pizza you could get the fastest. They cut straight to what their market cared about and used that as their U.S.P. They didn’t have a better product, they had better marketing and advertising.

FedEx FedEx

“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

FedEx no longer uses this unique selling proposition primarily because they no longer need to. That U.S.P. did what it was supposed to do which was help them grow to one of the market leaders in the delivery business. Like Dominos, many large companies no longer use the U.S.P.’s that were in large part responsible for their rapid growth.

FedEx’s old U.S.P. signified speed which appealed to every person with either no patience or an urgent need to have something delivered somewhere in a hurry.

Crafting A Strong Unique Selling Proposition

All your U.S.P. does is tell people the reason why they should do business with you over a competitor. It’s not really any more complicated than that. However, even though the concept is simple, you really need to spend some time trying to figure out the best approach for your business. If you and find what makes you unique, you have no competition.

What is it that your customer gets from you they can’t get anywhere else? If the only thing that separates you from the next is price then you’re done for. In that instance you’re up against better financed competitors who can just keep lowering their prices and wait for you to be out of business. Since a strong U.S.P. is unique to you, it must focus on benefits that only you offer so when thinking about your product or service get rid of anything your competitors also offer. Create as big a list of benefits as you can.

Once you have your list, ask yourself…

  • Which one of these benefits is the most important to potential customers/clients?
  • Which one of these benefits are the most difficult for competitors to duplicate? Having a U.S.P. that can be easily copied by competitors is the same as not having one at all.
  • Which one of these benefits are easiest for potential customers to understand.

You can’t be all things to all people. You want to find a specific element of your market to target because that allows you to make the strongest U.S.P. A good U.S.P. should…

  • Be a single, clearly written and understood sentence.
  • Be born out of a big benefit that is unique to your company, product or service.

What Does Your Company Do Best?

Can You Boil That Down To One Sentence?

Are You Able To Add An Emotional Element To It?

Can You Simplify It Even Further?

Is your U.S.P. centered around something that’s important to the people you’re going after? Is it something they want? Something that they can clearly see is of benefit to them immediately?

The Big Problem With Unique Selling Propositions

Back when M&M’s, Dominos and FedEx developed their U.S.P.’s it was easier to use unique selling positions to beat competitors and grow your business, but now because of the Internet and a rapidly growing technology structure it’s easier for competitors to catch up. That’s not to say that U.S.P.’s no longer work, you just have to use them differently.

Instead of using your U.S.P. in a broadly targeted marketing campaign for everyone to see, my opinion is that it’s better to use it when going after your most wanted audience. It should be used in targeted marketing campaigns to get people to try your introductory products and/or services. It’s easier for people to buy from you again after they’ve bought from you once so you want to make the biggest promise to them you can keep and then sell them everything else you offer. The name of the game nowadays isn’t who has the best U.S.P., it’s who can win over and keep more customers/clients.

It’s about market share. Your U.S.P. is only to get people to do business with you initially. They stay because of how you deliver on what you promised. Deliver what your U.S.P. promised and a competitor will have to work harder than you to get that same person to spend money because people tend to stay where they are unless presented with something that’s obviously better than what they currently have.

Unique Selling Propositions Help You Grow

When we first started, we only built websites. Period. Our U.S.P. at the time centered around delivering luxury designs to budget-conscious consumers. People wanted websites that looked like they spent far more than they actually did on them because that made it easier to sell their products and services.

The reason we offer so many design and marketing services now is because our clients asked us to. Whenever our website design clients wanted something else for their business that we didn’t provide, they literally told us to let them know when we figured out how to offer it so they could buy from us.

Otherwise, they would go to a competitor. That’s how we became a “One Stop Shop” offering everything a small business needs to generate leads, phone calls and more foot traffic for their businesses all while still delivering beautiful designs that put them levels above the competition. We focused on a specific type of consumer with a specific promise and grew from there. There are plenty of people who do beautiful design work.

That isn’t unique or rare anymore. However, once someone becomes our client, they typically never leave. We have active clients who’ve been with us for over 8 years and constantly refer other businesses to us. Your competitors can always duplicate your U.S.P., however, they can’t duplicate you. All you need your U.S.P. to do is get people to try one of your products or services. At that point, it’s up to you to keep them by how well you deliver on the promise of your unique selling proposition.



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