Recently as I've consulted with a number of business owners about writing content for their websites, I've once again been struck once again how difficult it is for most of them to come up with a “Unique Selling Proposition,” or USP, for their business.

A USP is an essential focused statement that tells a prospective customer or client why they would benefit from doing business with you. It is the “REASON WHY” buying they should buy your product or engaging your service.

What normally happens is business owners tell the world about themselves or their companies or their products. What we normally see is a “tell, tell” approach.

Look at magazine ads or Yellow Page ads for examples of what NOT to do. Most of these ads will not show you a real USP. You will see a lot of bragging or unsupported claims like, “we deliver excellence.”

I had an English teacher that referred to this kind of writing as “Solemn Vapors” because they use a lot of high sounding wording. Think of essays turned in by freshman English students and you will know what I mean.

So how do you write a succinct USP? How do you communicate what you do in a way that will persuade a potential customer to do business with you? Here are some ideas to help you create a powerful USP.

  1. What CHANGES are your potential customers or clients seeking? How can help them bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be? Most people buy to bring about some sort of change. This change can be to make their lives easier or more comfortable. To give them more status or pleasure, or it can be to make their work easier or faster.

    The point is that if you focus on changes, you get your eyes off yourself, your company and your product. You stop talking about things like how long you've been in business or how respected you are in the community.

  2. Make sure you discuss these changes with specifics. Don't use change substitute words like “Results” or “Difference.” Make a clear distinction between the “Before” situation your prospects live in now, and the “After” situation they want to be in.

  3. Focus on problems. Most really good USPs are about solving, avoiding or escaping a problem situation. Even the classic M & M candy commercial talked about candy that melted in your mouth not in your hands. That slogan was a great USP that dealt with a problem every parent has encountered, chocolate covered hands on a little toddler.

    If you can solve a business problem, help someone get out of debt, make more money, help a teenager get rid of acne, save a marriage, or solve any other kind of problem, you can turn this problem – solution scenario into a great USP.

  4. Brag about quality. Ok this is the really dangerous one. Most claims of quality are empty and vague. But if you can do more than make a generalized claim of excellence and give specifics about how you achieve this quality, you can use quality as your USP. For example, if you use only the very best materials to make your products, or you have instituted a quality control process that is unique in your industry, these might be worth bragging about. If you put your service people through twice as much training as your competitors, or if you are the owner of an auto repair shop who actually telephones each and every customer after a visit to make sure they were satisfied with the service they received, you can brag about these things as well.

    Make sure any claim to quality can be backed up with specifics.

A good USP will stand out in the market place and will give your customers a reason to seek you out and buy from you.COPYRIGHT © 2008, Charles Brown
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