I am always amazed (but not surprised) at how many
companies I work with don’t have a clue of what is their Unique Selling
Proposition. Without one (or without knowing it) you become just
another commodity company and you might as well make plans on selling
out or closing up. That’s how important your USP is to you and your
By the way, this applies to all businesses! It doesn’t
matter if you are a Fortune 100, a professional practice, or a mom and
pop retail store. You must have a USP!
What is a USP? The USP
very clearly answers the question, "Why should I do business with you
instead of your competitors?" Here are three questions you can ask
yourself that will help you formulate your USP.
1. Why should I choose to do business with you vs. any and every option available to me?
2. What do you offer no one else can or will?
3. What is your reason for existence in your chosen market-other than the fact that you want to be there?
USP must always be stated as a benefit that your clients and customers
can clearly identify with and agree upon its uniqueness and value to
them. The long-term marketing and operational successes you achieve
will ultimately, be helped or hurt by the USP you decide upon.
Let’s look at an example:
will deliver any computer part in our catalog to you within 48 hours or
you don’t pay!" Now this would be a powerful USP that would definitely
set the company apart. The competition would have to scramble to keep
up and it would create the perception that this company is THE COMPANY
to do business with in their industry/market.
don’t have a USP, only a "me too," commonplace, wishy-washy business
that feeds solely upon the sheer momentum of the marketplace. There’s
nothing unique; there’s nothing distinct. They promise no great value,
benefit, or service — just "buy from us" for no justifiable, rational
Do you like spending money with a firm that has no unique
benefit, service, selection, guarantee, etc.? I doubt it, which is why
we are more than willing to switch companies for little or no reason
when we don’t get the value of a USP.
You cannot compete on just
price and/or service alone anymore. Customers have the internet to
search and they can always get a better price and even better service
elsewhere. You have to be unique and you have to be able to take that
uniqueness and make it part of your overall company strategy. And,
then, you have to be able to implement the strategy.
thing you can do is to not deliver on your USP. That’s the kiss of
death for many companies. It’s like having a beautiful strategy in a
three ring binder in your desk but never implementing it (which will be
the subject of another letter soon).
Take some time today and
write down your USP. Then ask your employees and co-workers to describe
the company’s Unique Selling Proposition. I think you might be
surprised at their answers. And, if you are, it’s time to sit down and
create your USP and make sure every person in the company is focused on
delivering it. I guarantee if you do create it and deliver it to your
customers and clients…you will add considerable income to the company
The Poole Consulting Group