Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Unique Selling Propositions > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Unique Selling Propositions

If you have competitors, then you should have at least one Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The more REAL ones you have, the better - for your Branding, your business recognition, and your sales!

We all have competitors, and the more you have, the more important it is that you have a Unique Selling Proposition (at least one).

Allow me to explain. Let's use a recent example of a company that sells laser toner cartridges... Do you think they have competition online? You bet they do, another category that is swamped with resellers. Sound like yours?

The task of coming up with a USP can sometimes be tough. But every company needs this, it sets you apart from your competitors. Let me stress this again, it is one or more reasons why prospects should work with you, or buy from you, or do business with you, instead of your competitors, period.

Let me narrow this a little further, it used to be if you had the best price, - you got the business. Although still a minor USP, price alone should not be the only consideration, it's not really that unique... Yes, you still need to be competitive, but I don't want to be the cheapest guy... we're in this to make a profit, right? So don't make price your 'only' USP. Combine it with more value, something your competition doesn't do, or doesn't offer.

O.K., back to our example. This company needed more than price, their product pricing is right inline with everyone else, so now what?

First of all, you need to know what your competitors do offer.

This is not a new concept. You can't compete if you don't know what you're up against. So take a little time and check out what they have. Do some research, you'd be surprised what you might find - or not. Special offers, free shipping, a contest, great customer support?

Take a step back, imagine you are the customer and you do buy toner from someone a few times a year. If they do not get great service or it's just average, then chances are you can sway them your way. This references "customer loyalty" another chapter, but it follows first getting the customer. So, let's get the prospect as a customer first.

Now, what do we do to sway these prospects? We offer them what the competition doesn't. This can be discovered with your competitive research. Oh, and if you still haven't found a USP or a few - then Hyperformance Media can help you with this as well.

Write down every idea that you and your team come up with. Please don't worry about how silly they might seem (at the time), just brainstorm with the data you have gained. The reason I say to include the silly ones, and others is because sometimes those little ideas that you laughed at can actually be morphed to create your USP. No idea is too far fetched at this point, and usually the ideas you laughed at are, in fact, some things your competitors don't offer. That's where we go next.

On the toner company we came up with all kinds, some were already offered by competitors, some were not. The idea is to initially come up with as many as possible. Here are some of what we narrowed the field to (we started with about two dozen);

  • Price (of course)

  • Free Shipping (varied by quantity/price)

  • Great Customer Service (so everyone says)

  • A Contest / Promotion (a what?)

  • Free Gifts (vary)

  • Referral Savings (with parameters)

  • Reminders? (to buy)
The next step is again to nail down our list, get creative, really think here. This alone still makes us more competitive (once implemented), even if others use the same approach. Why? Because before we did this, there was a ton of competition, and as we add these USP's we now narrow the list of our 'real' competitors. We are now more competitive within our industry, because we now offer things that (most) of our competitors do not!

We are getting more competitive immediately by implementing some simple offerings. Let's take each one in this example and see how we can use it or discard it to our advantage.

  • Price - Still very important in any market, but very tied to customer value (or perceived value). If your product or service is not competing here - it does not necessarily rule you out, more on this later. However, this is usually where a shopper starts (because it's easy), and you want to be considered with this group. In this example, we agreed that (based on our research) we were in the market on price. So our price is competitive and that's great, but not unique enough to get the business.

  • Free Shipping - In our research, we found that most of the company's who were offering this service were just a couple dollars higher in price (covering their "free" offer). So while it may have some perceived value, it was not enough for this company to offer that, so we discarded this one. If however, your costs are such that you can ship for free and still be competitive and profitable, this is a worthwhile USP.

  • Great Customer Service - This is stated everywhere, making it tough for the consumer to know what is reality. It is hard to judge until you are a customer. It would be more valuable to offer testimonials of Great Customer Satisfaction. Not Customer Service, but Customer Satisfaction. There is a big difference here. So we DO want to take some of our really satisfied customers and put together, or request their testimonials. This is much more powerful than the words or promise of "Great Customer Service". So we will use this, but focusing on satisfaction with testimonials in our advertising pieces and website, etc.

  • A Contest/Promotion - This covers a broad area, but can be extremely successful when implemented and marketed properly, so be creative and if possible, develop one for your business, product or service. After our discussions, and research, we have begun developing this idea. Example: Every time you buy from us, you get another chance at winning "Free Toner for a Year". I know you're saying... free toner for a year - what are you crazy? Bear with me on this... first of all, most of their customers use 4 to 6 toners in normal use in one year (In our contest, we can actually cap that in our rules, i.e., "Not to exceed 6 cartridges". So we associate our costs to that, which does not make this a cost prohibitive program at all, depending upon the program success. Again, the mileage and customers we gain from our contest is potentially huge, and if it works well, we continue it... at a maximum cost of 6 toners per year for a Grand Prize.

  • Free Gifts - Don't discount this one, many people grab hold of these 'offers' to feel like they are making out. All else being the same, the customer does get something for nothing. Now, if the item truly has no value, then the customer has little to no interest. And, it actually 'cheapens' the image of your firm (be careful). We decided with our products and business customer profile, this would not work for this business. But it could work for you or your products.

  • Referral Programs - Another potential attraction (savings) for your customer. I say potential because this type of referral program, like price, should not be the only USP. When used in conjunction with others, this can steadily grow your business (sales) as well. You need to develop a program that somehow rewards referrals. For example, it can be something simple like "Refer a customer to our business and when we ship their order you will receive or accrue credits, dollars, points, or 5% off your next order". Get the idea? The key is to make it of value, and still keep it cost effective.

  • Reminders - This was it! The big one, it was unique, it has great value to the customer, and it reinforces our Customer Satisfaction! This was also laughed at when first mentioned.
So? What was the plan? We acquire a software program that can be set to automatically e-mail each customer based on their own usage when their toner and supplies were potentially running low (i.e., 30 or 90 days or any date we choose. Once set-up it is all automated (cost effective)! It also gave us their e-mail address (important anytime) and with our reminders we could include any special or seasonal offers that might further attract more sales.

So, what did this company find?

In a nutshell - Their products are priced well to compete. In this case, we discarded free shipping as not really cost effective. We stressed Satisfied Customers in all of our marketing materials with testimonials and real-life examples. We are also developing a contest to further set us apart from our competitors. We could not find a free gift we thought would add any value to the customer (but continue to look). They are considering a Referral Program as well. The real USP in combination with the others was our unique E-mail Reminder System. At that time, no other competitor was offering anything like this! This IS a Unique Selling Proposition and was perfect for our example. Put all these together, and this company has numerous 'edges' on their competition. Once customers are aware of these differences that set you apart from all the rest - growth is almost certain! That company is in a much better position to 'own' their market online, or at a minimum increase their market share.

The more you get the word out, the more you're sure to benefit from these type ideas.

I understand this was a pretty broad example but you should get the idea.

You won't always come up with an idea that no competitor has or offers, but if only 3-6 competitors offer that same USP, you are still in the top tier of your competition instead of lost somewhere un-noticed while buyers continue to purchase through your competition. You decide.

Use this article for your training, website, or newsletter by simply adding the following footer;

Written by and Copyright © 2003

www.hyperformancemedia.com

About The Author

Scott is the Founder and Sr. Project Manager for Hyperformance Media.com, a Technology Marketing Company serving online businesses since 1996. His 23+ years of experience in the computer industry will help you succeed. Their website offers free education & resources that will assist any business in successfully marketing their company online.

ss@hyperformancemedia.com

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Wall Street Journal

Honeywell Increases Sales Guidance Despite Posting Lower Profit
Wall Street Journal
Net sales at the New Jersey-based Honeywell rose 8.3% to $10.92 billion in the second quarter from the year-ago period. Honeywell reported sales increases in all of its segments—aerospace, home and building technologies, performance materials and ...

and more »

Washington Post

Sales of Essure birth control implant to be halted by Bayer; U.S. last ...
Washington Post
Pharmaceutical giant Bayer said Friday that it will halt sales of its controversial Essure birth-control device in the United States at the end of the year, bringing to ...
Bayer says it will stop US sales of birth control device EssureNBCNews.com
Bayer Says It Will Halt Sales of Essure Birth-Control ImplantFortune
Bayer to stop sales of birth control device tied to injuriesABC News
Gizmodo -FDA.gov
all 78 news articles »

Publishers Weekly

Unit Sales Slump in Mid-July
Publishers Weekly
With print-unit sales falling in all four major categories, total sales in the week ended July 15, 2018, were down 5% compared to the similar week in 2017, at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. The largest decline came in juvenile fiction, where ...


Entrepreneur

What Technical Founders Need to Know About Sales and Marketing
Entrepreneur
It took a number of years -- with the help of hard-earned lessons from experience, some books, webinars and conferences -- to finally learn the non-technical keys to success. But, now that I have, here's how you other technical founders should approach ...


Fashionista (blog)

Make a Splash With These 89 Online Sales
Fashionista (blog)
We honestly deserve a one-way ticket to Bermuda for making it to Friday, but we'll settle for any refreshing body of water and some retail therapy. So (swim)suit up and treat yourself to the 89 online sales below. Happy hunting! 3x1: Up to 70% off ...


TheStreet.com

Microsoft Hits Record High as Cloud Sales Drive Q4 Earnings Blowout
TheStreet.com
Those gains were powered by a staggering 93% increase in sales for its flagship Azure clouding computing business, and solid growth for its productivity and business processes unit, which includes its Office 365 suite, where sales rose 13.1% to $9.67 ...
Microsoft's cloud bet pushes annual sales over $100 billionCNNMoney
Microsoft Sales Top Estimates With More Clients Signing Up for CloudBloomberg
Microsoft Cloud Services Drive June-Quarter Sales, Earnings BeatInvestor's Business Daily
Microsoft
all 392 news articles »

Bloomberg

Canada's Economy Strengthens as CPI, Retail Sales Beat Forecasts
Bloomberg
The reports, a reverse of last month's weather-related disappointment in sales and inflation data, will bolster expectations for continued interest rate increases this year from the Bank of Canada. The retail sales report in particular, which indicates ...
Economy shows resilience as inflation reaches 2.5 per cent and retail sales growCTV News

all 47 news articles »

Digital Trends

Huawei is gaining on Apple as it aims for 200 million smartphone sales in 2018
Digital Trends
Feel as if you've seen more Huawei and Honor smartphones in the wild than ever before? That might not just be the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon — Huawei's global sales are rising, and the Chinese company is slowly gaining on Apple to become the ...

and more »

CNBC

Fortnite passes $1 billion in in-game sales
CNBC
CNBC's Julia Boorstin reports the Epic Games' Fortnite surpassing its milestone in in-game sales. Watch CNBC Live TV. You May Like. ‹ › Latest Video. ‹ 01:09. The Look Ahead: July 20, 2018. 01:09 | 4 Hrs Ago. News Update - The Look Ahead · 01:39.


Discovery Rediscovers Itself With New Ad Sales Structure
AdExchanger
Discovery has reorganized its ad sales teams into three new selling bundles, the company said Thursday. In March, the 35-year-old company acquired longtime competitor Scripps Networks Interactive for $14.6 billion. With HGTV, Food Network ...

and more »
Google News

Dont Let Rattlesnakes Scare You

Recently I was out trail running along the South Fork... Read More

Challenge Yourself!!! Evaluate Your Selling Skills!

This evaluation is not for the "weak-kneed". Real questions to... Read More

Follow the Long Yellow Copy: Do Long Scrolling Sales Letters Work?

Have you ever sat through a movie and got to... Read More

Touchdown! Closing Skills for Successful Selling

It's early January 2004. The Green Bay Packers are just... Read More

How To Set Goals and Achieve Them

We use only 5% of God's given potential, 95% of... Read More

Understanding The Corporate Buyer

Selling your services to corporations is an attractive proposition. The... Read More

Creating Intense Emotions That Motivate People

Ever wish that your presentations could be as much fun... Read More

Sales Copy Tips

Writing good sales copy is not an art, it is... Read More

The Benefits of Display Mannequins

Mannequins are primarily used in stores to display clothing. A... Read More

Leveraging Yourself Up To Executives When Selling

The fastest way to get a decision made is to... Read More

More Cleaning and Janitorial Customers Using Yahoo

We use this method to find new cleaningcustomers, and it... Read More

When the Nose of the Camel is in the Tent

My new job was to sell Commercial Service Agreements. It... Read More

Future Business Key Element In Sales

A challenge facing many businesses is how to maintain a... Read More

Dropped Jaw Syndrome, Your Fastest, Most Reliable Market Test

Business owners should be more like doctors.Forget selling and start... Read More

Youve Got a Great Business, but Nobody Cares!

I would like to share a disturbing little secret with... Read More

Things You Need to Know Before Joining a Direct Sales Company

A lot of people are very intrigued by the idea... Read More

Cracking The Billable Hours Ceiling

How many of you made as much money as you... Read More

Selling ? Remember These Ten Rules and Succeed

There are thousands of books and seminars on how to... Read More

Sorry, But Im Not Buying From You!

Former General Electric CEO and legendary manager, Jack Welch, nailed... Read More

Tapping The Potential Of Your Customers

Business owners of long standing know the cardinal rule "take... Read More

Selling Against Goliath

Selling Against Goliath?How to Take on the Big Guys and... Read More

Use Pain To Get Commitments

Whenever I speak with new salesreps and entrepreneurs, I hear... Read More

How To Make An Extra $100,000.00 Each Year

HOW TO MAKE AN EXTRA $100,000.00 EACH YEAR BY ADDING... Read More

How to Buy Wholesale Store Fixtures for Your Business

It may sound funny, but honestly, if you're opening up... Read More

Smooth Sailing (Selling) In The Second Half of The Year

You can make a difference in the second half! You... Read More