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We often hear and use the term- USP – Unique Selling Proposition. If we break down this phrase, it refers to a

  1. Unique benefit exhibited by a company, service, product, or brand that enables it to
  2. Stand out from competitors.

Though a common enough term, businesses often struggle with identifying a strong USP. During my work with business owners, helping them design sales and marketing strategies to increase revenues, I often share the following 9 points.

1. It is not unique if your competition is also saying the same thing.

If your competition uses the same words to describe their product/service, you do not have anything different. Just because, you have not done/ said it before, does not mean it is unique either.

2. It does not matter, if your competition is only saying it, but not actually doing it. Why?

Because a customer who does not know either you or your competitor, simply sees both of you talking the same talk and decides that there is nothing unique about either of you.

3. Similarly, if you are not talking enough about your uniqueness, you are wasting a critical asset.

Having a USP, but not talking about it, thinking that the uniqueness is obvious, cancost you customers. For the customer, you could be just one of the trees in the forest.

4. It is not a good proposition, if it does not matter to your customer.

You may be doing something unique that your competition is not doing (or saying). But if your customer does not see a value in the “propagated uniqueness,” then it will not weigh in their decision to buy from you.

5. Customer understanding about your uniqueness.

If your customer does not understand the uniqueness or believe your uniqueness, then it will again not weigh in their decision to buy from you.

6. If your uniqueness is easily replicated by others.

We will quickly lose traction after selling to your first group of customers. Why? Sharp competitors will quickly adopt your uniqueness and level the competitive battle ground.

7. Thinking that your USP is a tagline.

You may use your USP in your tagline, but it is beyond that fancy sounding phrase. It is the core reason that your customers buy from you and not your competitor.

8. Your USP is not stagnant.

With a dynamic world and ever-changing customers, competitions, market conditions, your USP will also evolve or even dissolve. There is no rule that says – you must have only one USP and that too forever.

9. Force fitting a USP.

If your business offering does not have a USP do not try to make up one with your marketing team. Whatever you come up will not be effective or long lasting.

Now that we know about the common mistakes, lets spend some time finding the right path to uniqueness.

Think Unique Buying Proposition

Change your perspective from selling to buying. Simply put –  Think like a customer! This simple shift will prevent you from making most of the mistakes from the above list.

Change your perspective from you to the market. Simply put, Think Big! This shift will make you look at the bigger picture beyond your own organization. Just ask yourself; Am I unique enough to dominate over the market?

Think Beyond your Product and Service

The uniqueness factor is not just about features of your product or service. It can rise from the way you produce, deliver, package the product/service or even from the unique customers that you cater to.

Think beyond Marketing

Your Uniqueness is not just for your marketing team. Train your sales, customer service, even your non-customer facing teams such as your product development and testing teams to use your uniqueness in everyday work.

Think for Today! Think for Now!

Your uniqueness is time bound. So, think what is important to your customers now? What differentiates you from your competition now? You may need another uniqueness tomorrow.

Neetu Bansal

Neetu Bansal

Neetu V Bansal is an international business coach, an author, and a speaker, specializing in sales and marketing. She works with SME’s and start-ups across India, Africa, and US in defining and executing their Go-to- Market Strategies.

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