Are you giving potential customers a compelling reason to do
business with you, instead of with the competition.
Because of competition, the only way to increase your share of the
available business is by offering customers a benefit that no one else
is providing. You need a Unique Selling Proposition, or USP to do
this. Your USP is a sentence or phrase that explains what makes you
special. It differentiates you from your competitors and enables you
to grow your business.
Without a USP, you are a "me too" operator. Even if you do have a
compelling point of difference, your potential customers won’t know
about it. Your marketing won’t work and the business will inevitably
stagnate. It almost goes without saying that you must have a USP if
you want your business to succeed but, amazingly, 90% of businesses
don’t have one!
The easiest way to understand what a USP is and what it can do for
your business is to look at an example of a really good one. Domino’s
Pizza used a Unique Selling Proposition to become the market leader in
a fiercely competitive business. Domino’s incorporated key benefits
into a compelling and punchy USP: "Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your
door in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed"
The focus is on convenience, freshness and quick delivery – all
important benefits to people living rushed lives. Notice that the USP
says nothing about Domino’s and focuses only on benefits that the
customer gets. It answers the question of why people should buy Pizza
from Domino’s and is very specific.
First, you have figure out a USP that will appeal to your target
market. Then, you need to announce it in a way that attracts
attention. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you must make sure
that you deliver on the promise of your USP.
How to Create Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your USP is a sentence or phrase that explains what makes you
special. It gives your prospects a reason to do business with you
rather than your competitors. A good USP that is properly used makes
your marketing a lot more effective because it gives you dominance
over a market niche.
When developing your USP, it is important that you put yourself in
your prospects’ position. Look at your product or service from the
point of view of someone thinking about buying it. What is important
to your potential customer and what would be a compelling reason for
that prospect to buy from you instead of your competition?
Your customers’ interest is focused on what your product or service
does for them – the benefits. How using your product solves a problem
or improves an outcome. The key to unlocking the decision to buy is
offering benefits that outweigh what the competition offers.
So benefits are all about how your product adds value for your
customer. While features relate to what goes into making the product
or service and how it is delivered to customers. This is an important
distinction. Customers are really not interested in features. They are
only motivated by benefits.
For example, saying that there is a lifetime guarantee on your
products is describing a feature. The benefit is that customers don’t
take any risk by buying your product. A powerful USP is one that is
focused on benefits that only you offer.
So, to start with, list all the features of the product or service
that your business offers. When you can’t think of any more, go
through each feature and look at it from the customer’s point of view.
What is the benefit? List all the benefits next to the corresponding
Your USP must be focused on benefits that only you offer. So,
eliminate from your list all benefits that your competition is also
offering. If you find that you have no benefits left after you do
this, you may have to tweak some features so that they result in
You should end up with a few benefits to choose from. When deciding
which one is the most suitable as the focus of your USP, ask these
1. Which benefits are the most important to, and have the most value
for, your client
2. Which benefits are the most difficult for your competitors to
3. Which benefits can be most easily understood by customers
If, like most of us, you are in a competitive market, you can’t be
all things to all people. You must find a niche - a corner of the
market that you can take ownership of because of the unique benefits
you offer. Remember, focus is the name of the game.
When you have identified the benefits you want to use, you can
start writing the USP. Start off with a paragraph that describes the
unique benefit or package of benefits. Then eliminate all unnecessary
words. Cut it down until you have only one sentence that says it all.
A good USP should be:
Only one sentence.
Clearly written so that everyone can understand it.
Composed of benefits that are unique to your company or product.
The Domino’s Pizza USP is a good example of a Unique Selling
Proposition that does all of these things: "Fresh hot pizza delivered
to your door in thirty minutes or less, guaranteed"
When you have a USP, make sure that it is incorporated in all your
communications to potential customers. Also ensure that it is well
understood by your whole team and consistently delivered on. You will
attract a strong following of loyal customers and your business will
( Mark Munday, Business Strategy Coach. For more information and
to subscribe to Mark’s newsletter visit him online at
Lynne’s notes: You notice that the terms “market niche” and
“target market” are used almost interchangeably and that the USP is
developed in relation to these markets. The most direct method of
determining these markets may be to ask the top 20% of your clients to
tell you what they like about your products and services, how they
feel when using your products and services, what problems you solve
for them, why they choose to do business with you. Be sure you let
them know that you value their business, their opinions and would like
to “clone” them to have more clients like them. Their input will help
you develop your USP.