Unique Selling Point (USP) is a bit of jargon that is banded about a lot. It is something than many are aware of but few really understand. They know they should have a USP and yet they are not quite sure what one is and how to get one. Others have a go and end up with something that is a little wide of the mark. In this article I aim to define what a USP is, why it is important, and what is involved in finding one for your business.
Why do you need a Unique Selling Point?

Effectively a USP will help you win more sales in a crowded market place. In short, if you are struggling to get noticed or you are losing sales to competitors then getting a USP could help.

Two fundamental questions buyer’s make before parting with any cash are:

Why should I be interested in buying this product/service?
Why should I buy this product or service from you?

Your sales and marketing messages need to be able to answer these two questions even though it is unlikely you will ever hear a prospective client ask them out loud.
Your USP should be verifiably different

To answer the second question first, a unique selling point should enable you to give a compelling answer. However, it needs to more than just empty words. Something bland like ‘Better service’ will not wash with buyers because it is not verifiable and they have heard it all before. They probably say it themselves to potential customers!

We need to dig deeper to find out what, specifically, about the service makes them different. For example:

Do they do same day delivery (and their competitors don’t)?
Do they offer 24/7 support (and their competitors don’t)?
Do they have qualified staff (and their competitors don’t)?

Your USP should be relevant

Your USP not only needs to be something different to what you competitors offer but it also needs to be relevant to your prospective client’s needs. For example, if you offer 24/7 support and your prospect does not operate 24/7 then it may be a USP but it’s not going to help you win the sale. If your only USP was 24/7 support then you should be targeting your marketing to attract people who want 24/7 support rather than having a bland marketing message…which leads us nicely back to the first of the two questions your prospective buyer has:

Why should I be interested in buying this product or service?

Imagine a buyer who is searching on Google for your product/service and is looking to change supplier because their existing supplier does not offer 24/7 support. By making your USP a key aspect of your marketing message you will stand out from the crowd and attract the kind of prospects who are actively seeking that key point of difference. This, in turn will make closing the sale easier and also make it easier to charge higher prices.
Finding your USP

Finding your USP is relatively easy if you can be objective and you have a good understanding of what your competitors offer. I will go into the steps in more detail in another article but essentially you need to list out all the features of your offering and compare them, point by point, to your competitors offering. Be specific. If you think your product is gets better results, identify what, specifically, makes it produce better results. Once you have all the features then you need to assess each feature to see how relevant it is to your ideal client (ie how the feature fulfils their needs). The features that are most different and most relevant will be strong contenders for your USP.