Growing your business begins with the answers to a few penetrating questions:
- Why do your customers buy from you?
- Why do customers choose you over your competitors?
- What is it you do better than anyone else in your market?
- What differentiates you from your competition?
The answers to these questions comprise your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP.
Knowing your USP, and more importantly, leveraging it in all of your customer communications, is the most important activity you can undertake to make your business a success.
The process of identifying your USP involves understanding how your core competencies, the things you do best, meet your customers’ needs and solve problems for them. Customers don’t really buy products or services, they buy solutions to problems, or things to meet their needs. If you can convincingly demonstrate to customers how your product or service fulfills a customer need and relieves their pain from whatever problems they are experiencing, then they will be more likely to become your customer for life.
You probably started your business because you saw a need or gap in the marketplace and had a notion of how to fill it. Or perhaps you recognized a problem, and came up with a solution that was the foundation of your business. Either way, you have what people NEED.
People will travel farther, expend more energy, and spend more money to obtain satisfaction of a need. The more pressing the need, the more a customer will seek out a means to meet that need. You won’t need to “sell” your solution; the customer who is acutely aware of their problem will immediately identify your product or service as the solution they’ve been looking for if only you communicate it to them correctly.
Integrating your USP fully into your communications with customers and prospects helps them quickly recognize how your product or service meets that critical need.
Here are a few examples:
For true business growth, your USP needs to be more than just a slogan. It must be part of everything you do. If speed is a quality of your product or service, then every aspect of a customer’s experience with your company must be quickly efficient, yet not hurried or brusque. Customers expect to see the same level of quality in all of their dealings with your company that you promise in the products you sell.
Furthermore, all of your staff must know and apply the USP as they carry out routine business operations. Printed materials, conversations with customers, vendors, suppliers, and the public must all incorporate the USP. This persistence of message then informs all of your business dealings, and can result in exponential returns by attracting new customers, inspiring referrals, and giving you an advantage over your competitors.
Developing your USP requires thinking about the answers to the questions noted above, and then analyzing how that information can be turned into a solid marketing message that is both memorable and authentic. Even weaknesses can be used to advantage, such as Avis’ “We’re number 2, so we try harder”.
Once you have integrated your USP into your marketing messages, you will be able to identify ways to reach more customers and derive more revenue by showing how your company uniquely meets the needs of the consumer.
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