Seriously, what makes you or your business stand out from the crowd and make people levitate to your service or your products? You’ve probably heard about Unique Selling Points, or perhaps Unique Sales Propositions: USPs, those qualities that separate you from the herd and that you use in your marketing to persuade potential customers that they should choose you over all the other options. Do you have one that you hold in your heart, that is part of your business plan and forms a core belief for you and your staff? If not, it’s time to find out if you have that certain something that will make a difference, and identify what does make you so special.
I’m not unique
The word unique is often poorly used and incorrectly attributed. If something is unique, there is only one. That’s what the word means, one of something. You can’t, therefore, have something that is very unique or pretty unique; it’s either unique or it isn’t. The good thing is that as humans, every single one of the billions of us on the planet, and everyone who has ever lived, is indeed unique. Even if you have a twin, although you may be similar, you will still have some differences. In business, it can be hard to pinpoint what makes your offer one of a kind. You can be excellent at customer service, or deliver very quickly, but there are many other businesses doing the same. If you have a product no-one else is selling, or a service no-one else is offering, you may well be unique, and you have a head start on the identification process. If you can’t see what your stand out quality is, how do you find it?
Don’t be shy
If you are having a hard time identifying what your USP is, there are a few methods you can try to help you find an answer.
- Look at everything you do, and how you do it. Write a list of all the things you are proud of about your business, and why you think people choose to buy from you. Don’t be reticent about listing your own qualities too – if you are a freelancer your qualities are your business, so be honest and don’t worry about anyone thinking you are blowing your own trumpet. Besides, this is a list for you, so no-one else needs to see it if you want to keep it to yourself.
- Ask your colleagues and your customers. Find out from people who know you well, who work with you or have done business with you, what it is that they admire and what stands out to them about you and your business. You might be surprised at the responses, as they will almost certainly contain aspects of your operation that weren’t at the forefront of your mind. Add all the information to your list.
- Be aspirational. Think about what you believe is most important to you, and how you would like your business to be perceived. If you want to be known as the place to go for the highest customer service standards, that’s what you add to your list.
Now you have a list that you can analyze and hopefully extract an answer from. See if there are any recurring themes, the same adjectives used repeatedly, any areas of commonality between the items you’ve noted down. If you find that you have started the list by saying you’re a funny person, and then further down see that several customers and colleagues have said they love working with you or talking to you because you make them laugh, then that’s a pretty sizeable clue that your personality is what sets you apart. You can then exploit this in your marketing and your communications. You may not appeal to everyone with your ready quips and wacky sense of humor, but as it’s impossible to appeal to everyone anyway, capitalize on your ability to make people laugh and they will use you, recommend you,and you’ll have a reputation as the guy who gets everyone giggling.
That’s not unique though
No, there are plenty of people with very sharp wit who can make people laugh, and in truth, there are very few USPs that are truly unique. It would probably be more accurate to rename them SSPs – Special Selling Points, but the principle is still sound; be as individual as you can, and make sure there is something about you or your business that differentiates you from everyone offering the same thing.
Working on your USP
Once you’ve identified that special quality and defined it as the pivot point for your marketing, it’s essential that you back up what you are claiming with an experience to match. If you have decided that your delivery service is the prime benefit for anyone using your company, you need to make sure you live up to the promise. Your vehicles need to be regularly serviced and well-maintained, and your drivers should be selected for their competence, driving expertise and customer service skills. If you want to be sure your vehicles will perform at peak efficiency and not let you down, you could consider installing a Cummins ECM (Electronic Control Module) to improve these aspects of your fleet. You may want to provide uniforms for your drivers and send them on training courses to improve their skills and make sure they always represent your company at its best. In other words, you need to go a step further than you might with other elements of your operation to ensure that the USP you are promoting remains credible and identifiable.
Even if your USP is not truly unique, you always will be, the combination of you, your staff and your business offer form a unique whole that makes your business what it is. By identifying and promoting a USP, you will be able to show people that your company has that little something extra that makes choosing you the best decision they can make.
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