For small business owners the job of crafting words to define their business may be overlooked, or avoided. Some dislike writing about anything because they are simply too busy running their business. The importance of a USP, Unique Sales Proposition, or what some call a unique sales “position” deserves your attention. Your place in the business world needs to be evaluated to define the unique benefits customers will discover doing business with you. This exercise will actually help you determine the most effective strategy for all your advertising and promotional marketing materials.
Start with a list of the things you do well, and include factors for price, quality, and service. Some of my real estate clients struggle differentiating what makes them unique. When faced with local competition and potential customers have 1000 choices, some realtors think they are just like everyone else. They are not which is a surprise to some. No matter what product or service you provide, if you are 1 out of 1000 suppliers, it could be that the only thing unique is you! Add personal characteristics about you and your staff to your list of things you do well.
Next, take your list and think like a customer. Reorder the list by taking the most important benefit enjoyed by people who do business with you, and then continue recreating the list from most to least important. Keep in mind your perspective is prejudiced because everything so far is based on your vision of your business, what you do, and what it means to customers. Now comes the fun part.
Select a few trusted customers and ask them for feedback about your list. Maintain a neutral position and refer to your list as random in no particular order, so no numbers please. Providing your written list will make this easier to recruit willing participants. Ask them to review the list and have them number each one in sequence by importance with #1 being the top factor. Invite them to add benefits that you may have forgotten. Finally and perhaps most importantly, is asking them to list one additional thing “we could do better to enhance your experience as a customer”.
Evaluate the new lists to see how each benefit lines up. From the new sequences and the added benefits that need improvement, you should be ready to define your USP. Your success depends on customer revenue, so take no offense to their input because this is reality. Take the time to use this feedback and write a narrative summary with just a few paragraphs and answer who, what, where, when, and why in the first paragraph. If that sounds like a news story, it is. To promote your business your “news story” needs to be circulated, and your USP becomes the centerpiece of your marketing strategy.
Next, create a condensed version of your Unique Sales Proposition that you can memorize and state in 15 seconds, or less. In marketing, this is sometimes referred to as your “elevator pitch”, or the equivalent of how to introduce your business to a complete stranger when you only have 15 seconds between floors on an elevator.
Knowing why you succeed based on customer feedback, and then utilizing this information in marketing materials, you will be able to attract more customers looking for the benefits that you offer. Consider the areas for improvement and how to implement these ideas into your USP. Practice your elevator pitch and look for opportunities to put it in action. Time spent waiting in line at the bank, post office, or even social situations will allow you to make a quick introduction to people who show interest. Unlike long winded sales pitches, your elevator pitch and a business card will impress people because it is concise and respects the value of their time.
Finally, if you do not have a company motto or slogan, consider the strengths you offer that are now documented in your Unique Sales Proposition. Why not extract the best points to come up with a single short sentence or phrase? It should be easy to develop a concise slogan to add to your corporate identity and then consider including the slogan on your website and printed marketing materials.
In conclusion, evaluate your strengths and then get customer feedback to fine tune the list of benefits doing business with your company. Formulate the list content into a narrative Unique Sales Proposition with several paragraphs, and make the first paragraph read like a news report. Condense the USP into a 15 second version elevator pitch, and finally craft a company motto or slogan to enhance your corporate identity.