Developing a Unique Selling Proposition [USP]


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by deleowned
by deleowned

As a salesperson one of the primary factors that must be settled for you to be most effective is yours or your company’s unique selling proposition (USP). The USP is that unique position that you occupy in the minds of both your prospective and existing customers. It is vital because it determines the reason why somebody chooses to make a purchase from you. Ultimately, the USP should encapsulate the sum total of what a prospect experiences as you do business with them. If it doesn’t reflect their experience, it is unlikely that you will see them again.
The unique selling proposition is born out of the answer to two basic questions: First, why do your customers buy from your company? Secondly, if they have chosen not to buy from you, why should they do so in the future? These are important questions for every company to answer; and the reason is simple: a prospect needs to have a reason in their mind to choose you. If they don’t, your company’s position with that customer or prospect can be taken by company that CAN give them a reason that matters to them.
A company’s USP is typically defined by what makes it most competitive and unique. It is the factor or factors that set it apart from companies like it. Companies should be providing those things that their competition doesn’t, in a way that is valuable to the B2B sales prospect. That unique additional value will continue to rest on the mind of the customer to bring them back to you. Companies can create this unique value in four basic ways:

  1. Price
    Although difficult to maintain, one way to maximize the USP is to become the lowest price leader in your class. Companies like Wal-Mart have mastered the practice, but it is evident that there are not many firms like that. This is one area to be cautious of before deciding that a price advantage can be maintained.
  2. Differentiation
    This advantage is created by companies that consistently do something better or different than the competition. It is important to note here again that the differentiation factor must truly matter to the customer.
  3. Niche
    This is a focus on a particular subset of the market that other companies choose not enter due to its degree of difficulty to maintain.
  4. Value
    This is the ability of your company to provide a higher level of quality and service to your customers.

When a company doesn’t position themselves in the marketplace based on their USP, the only factor for the prospect to use will be price. They truly don’t have any other good reason to come to you. When you are competing on the basis of price, the only way to maintain market share is for a company to take less profit on sale. On the other hand, when a USP is carefully crafted, a company can charge a premium price on its products, in some cases, and remain competitive. Defining a unique selling proposition can be a powerful element of a company’s profitability.
Because this concept can have such a pronounced effect on the company’s profitability, it’s important to discuss the defining characteristics of a USPs that works:

  1. It answers the question, why should people do business with your company and not its competitors.
  2. It is brief. Experts believe that a USP should be less than 100 words long.
  3. It is specific in areas of quality, service, selection and guarantee
  4. It cannot and does not double as a mission statement
  5. It fills a competitive void in the marketplace
  6. It matters to prospects and customers
  7. It is easy to execute at high levels of excellence.

Whether you develop a USP for your company or for yourself as an individual salesperson, a solid USP is the cornerstone of your marketing. It is foundational and should come before any marketing and sales tactics because it starts and ends in a prospective customer’s mind. Savvy sales professionals can catapult their sales effectiveness, by working from that foundation to build and maintain customer relationships.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Koka Sexton
Koka Sexton, Social Selling Evangelist and Sr. Social Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, is one of the most recognized social selling experts in the technology industry. A career in helping companies use social media for lead generation, creating new opportunities, and engaging customers. READ MORE at the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog.


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