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Unique Selling Point

unique selling point







Whether you’re asking about a company’s Unique Selling Proposition, Unique Selling Point or USP, I tend to ask, “What’s your differentiator?” Although I’m not sure how correct this is grammatically.

Call it their differentiator, Unique Selling Proposition, Unique Selling Point or USP but essentially the question is, “What are the unique features or benefits of a product or service that sets a company apart from others in the same space?”

Many of us struggle with this and I think the reason we struggle is because of the definition, in other words, “What sets us apart?” And we think of this in terms of our own perception or from our own perspective. As a result we say something about quality, like “It’s the quality of our service that sets us apart.” Unfortunately that’s not a unique selling point, it’s a given, it’s what’s expected, so it’s not unique!

A better way to determine your unique selling point would be to ask, “What extra value can I add to what I deliver that sets me apart?” To illustrate this let’s take two examples:

Example 1

The Corner Shop – What makes the corner shop unique? Price, range of products, friendly service (I’d say necessary). It’s none of the aforementioned, its convenience. The corner shop is convenient to the people in the area who would rather walk or drive to the ‘corner shop’ rather than drive a kilometre or two to their local supermarket.

Example 2

IT Support Company – The type of company that looks after IT support, cloud services, new infrastructure, PCs, laptops and/or software. I’m going to use an actual client example here.

The companyMan doing server maintenance with tablet pc in data center is very good at what they do and have an enviable reputation for good service. When we first sat down with them we asked the usual four questions that we ask every prospective client. This is what we asked and how they answered:

1. What problems do you solve?

2. What’s your value proposition?

3. Who’s your ideal customer?

4.What’s your differentiator?

a. The first answer was easy, “We help with customer support and maintain their IT systems.”

b. Their value proposition was a bit of a struggle to work out.

c. Their ideal clients were accountants and solicitors.

d. The 3rd answer gave us the direction for their unique selling point, from this we worked out what made them unique, if not exclusive.

“They IT Assistancewere the ‘go to company’ for accountants, they understood what applications accountants used and were able to advise their clients about how best to utilise technology to their’s and their clients’ best advantage.” Frequently, good ideas were garnered from one client and passed on to another.

They became not only the ‘IT Manager’ but also the ‘IT Director’ advising their clients on how they could utilise technology as a corporate resource and deliver a competitive advantage.

Being able to communicate your unique selling point or unique selling proposition is really important for B2BSell to work out. We have seconds on the phone to garner the attention of our client’s ‘suspect’ (‘suspect’ meaning, looks like they might be a potential customer), so we need our client’s proposition to be unique and not one of the ‘also rans’.

You’re probably doing something very differently already, but you just don’t know what it is.

What’s your unique selling point?

All comments welcome.


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David Doyle

David has spent 30 years in sales successfully building business from zero to acquisition. Having studied Electronics and Computer Science at DIT and Enterprise Ireland's Export Sales Development Programme, he has spent most of his time in selling technology. He is founder and Managing Director of B2B Sell and leads a small team of experienced business and technology trained sales professionals.
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