Are you really the best person to decide your USP?

You may be the closest person to your own business, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best person to decide your USP.

I wish I could say I’m the best person, but that’s not true either!

If you want to know what will sell your product or service the best… simply ask your customers why they bought from you. You never know, the answer might surprise you! But it could also give you the edge in marketing to others.

Think about it, if ten people bought from you for a specific reason, chances are, others will too.

Do your research

If you conduct customer satisfaction surveys when you complete a job, add in the question, “Why did you choose us as your supplier?”  Allow them the opportunity to elaborate. Ask them how many suppliers they considered, what was the deciding factor, what would they tell others about your service? All of this will give you invaluable information that you can translate into an effective marketing message.

You will usually find a common theme emerging, but it’s not always what you would expect.

In my own business, I thought my USP as a business coach would be the affordability and achievability of my service to small businesses – my primary target market. Customer surveys, however, revealed it was the fact that I offer guaranteed results that appealed to them most.  Every single one of my satisfaction surveys was returned with reports of increased profits and growth which allowed me to claim the following: “We are so confident that this programme will help your small business, that we guarantee your profits will increase by at least three times its cost over the next three years.”

You’ll now see “guaranteed to increase your profits” prominently highlighted in all my marketing. Just take a look at the home page of my website.

Analyse all emerging themes

Through your research, you may find more than one theme emerging. If this is the case, think about why different customers might like different things about your product or service. How are the customers different? Does one thing stand out to a particular age group? Are certain customers buying a particular product or service because they have a specific need in their industry sector? All of this information will help you fine tune your marketing messages to a variety of potential customers.

It’s important to note, however, that this needs to be an ongoing process. You might find themes change over time, so it’s worth making sure your USP is still in-line with customer comments.

USE your USP!

Once you know and understand your USP – use it! Make it your billboard ad, your website banner, your email footer.

Everywhere customers might find information about you, keep your USP prominent and visible.

I even suggest to clients to include their USP in their answer-phone message. Listen to mine – you’ll see what I mean (01384 355 444).

Use your research

The findings of your research can be a useful selling tool in more ways, too.  Use the statistics to your advantage.  Do you remember this tagline? ‘Nine out of ten mums use Daz because it gets your clothes whiter than white’.  Or, what about, ‘Nine out of ten cats prefer Whiskers’? Although I’m not quite sure how that customer survey must have gone…

If you uncover some impressive findings, share them.

The key point is, let your customers be your guide. They really are better placed than you to pinpoint your USP.

Put the U in USP

Every business claims to have one, but how many ‘Unique Selling Points’ are actually that… unique?

It’s always one of the first questions I ask when working with a business – tell me what your unique selling point is.  Most of them give me very valid selling points, but often – nothing that makes them unique.

A window cleaner who says, ‘We clean the sills and corners too’; a builder who claims, ‘We leave the site as tidy as we found it’; a cleaning company who states, ‘We have trustworthy employees’ – all of these are great, but aren’t they what customers would expect from anyone in your industry?

Your USP has to be what makes you different. Why do people buy from you? What makes them choose YOU above your competitors? 

You may offer a unique product or service – fantastic! Finding your uniqueness is easy.  This always begs the question for me, however – why is no-one else doing it? Is there really a demand for your service? But, I guess that’s a whole other blog post about market research.

You may be able to claim you are the best at something – great! Just make sure you can qualify this statement and prove how or why you are the best.

The best way to find your USP is to look at your business from a customer’s perspective. What will resonate with them?

If you conducted market research before starting your business, take a look back at your findings with your USP in mind. Did a theme emerge about what is most important to people? Is it customer service, price or something else? Can you hook your USP on this?

It’s also good to remember that USPs aren’t always set in stone. You may want to use a different USP for the same product or service when marketing to a particular geographic area, for example, within a particular setting or to a specific demographic group.

The way you sell cleaning services to the domestic market, for example, will differ to how you sell to commercial customers.

Of course, there is an easy way to determine your USP… My next blog post will reveal all!