Identifying your unique advantage is critically important to outselling, outsmarting and outperforming your toughest competition, writes Robert Clay of Marketing Wizdom.
It sets your business apart. And it gives you a crucial edge over most of your competition.
If you don’t know me, I specialise in helping entrepreneurs turn any good business into a great business. While also turning any great business into one of the leaders in its niche. And that’s why I’m often known as a business transformer.
Ultimately, my mission is to demystify marketing for you and give you insights into a series of low-risk/high-return marketing strategies. Ones that deliver your vision and the outcomes you’re seeking. And to do so more rapidly, and with less pain, so that you don’t have to figure out all the answers for yourself.
What’s Your Unique Advantage?
I’ll start this topic by asking you one of the simplest but most profound questions you’ll ever be asked in business.
Q: “If I’m in the market for your products or services, tell me why should I buy from you instead of your competition?” What’s your unique advantage?
Most businesses give me one or more of these answers:
- Nice people
- Competitive price
Those are all great things. But hardly unique.
But what if I’m a smart shopper, and I shop around? What will your competition say if I ask them the same question? Would they say the same thing? Or would their response be very much like yours?
You Have a Problem If You Cant Describe Your Unique Advantage
If you can’t answer that question in a compelling way, and most businesses can’t, then you have a problem. Your prospective customer will see your business as being just like your competitors business. And when people can’t differentiate between one offering and another, they tend to buy on price.
It also generally means either:
- You offer your customer a unique set of advantages or benefits but you’re not clear on them, or
- You offer that customer no unique advantage or result. That means you’ve only obtained the business by sheer luck or fortunate timing.
In that case there’s no particular basis upon which you’re keeping that business. Any time your competition offers your customers an advantage that you don’t, they can take those customers away. And I’m sure that’s NOT what you want.
Four Things Your USP Must Do
You therefore need to articulate your “Unique Selling Proposition,” otherwise known as your USP.
That means you have to offer your customers a unique, distinctive or superior benefit or advantage. It should be above and beyond anything offered by your competition. If you don’t, there’s no reason why they should do business with you.
To be worthy of the name, your USP must do four things. And it must do ALL four of these things:
- Attract attention to your business
- Set you apart from your competition
- Fill a perceived gap in the marketplace
- Motivate people to take action
To do this you need to determine the most powerful benefit or advantage you can possibly offer your customers. It should make you the only logical choice to deal with. You do that by:
- Identifying the advantage, benefit or result your customers most desire.
- Discovering your customers’ biggest fears and frustrations when dealing with you or your industry.
- Identifying what they’re not getting from anyone else they could be dealing with. And perhaps they’re not even getting it from you
Then you answer that need by offering it to them. And you tell them in everything you do and say that you offer it!
Here are some examples of USP’s that rapidly propelled these businesses from obscurity to market leadership:
Leadership Against all odds
James Dyson spent 15 years developing the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner. His product was launched in 1993 with the USP:
“The only vacuum cleaner in the world to maintain 100% suction, 100% of the time.”
Against all odds, the Dyson became the biggest-selling vacuum cleaner in Britain within 2 years. And that was despite being an unknown name and costing more than competing products.
His British success was soon repeated elsewhere. Within 4 years Dyson was generating worldwide sales of £300 million. For example, Dyson became the number one vacuum cleaner only eight months after launching in New Zealand.
In 1996 Dyson became the first British manufacturer of domestic electrical goods to export to Japan. People were so impressed by its performance that the product became a status symbol. And amazingly, it sold for £1,200 apiece.
More USP Examples
EasyJet: “Providing a simple, safe, no frills airline service to UK and European destinations at rock bottom fares”
Patek Philippe: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation.”
The right USP quite literally attracts attention to your business. It also sets you apart from your competition; fills a perceived gap in the marketplace; and motivates people to take action.
Of course it also answers the question “Why should I buy from you?”
When Dyson used the slogan, “The only vacuum cleaner in the world to maintain 100% suction, 100% of the time;” this is what they were communicating: “Here’s what we do for you that nobody else does.”
That’s what a unique selling proposition does for you and your business.
What Your USP Does for You
It distinguishes and differentiates your business. And it communicates exactly what benefit or advantage your customers can expect by doing business with you instead of your competition.
Your challenge is to identify and understand what superior result or an advantage you can offer. Then you need to integrate it into all your advertising and selling operations and materials.
Once you’ve done that you’ll be able to confidently communicate to anyone, anywhere, any time the benefits of your product or service, in a way that’s easy to digest and comprehend. And that alone will accelerate your customer’s decision speed.
Identifying your unique advantage is critical to so many things that give you an edge over your competition. Yet few entrepreneurs or business leaders ever get it right, or even know where to start.
So can you give a compelling answer to the question I posed earlier in this video: “If I’m in the market for your products or services, tell me why should I buy from you instead of your competition?”
To answer that question and start setting your business apart, you need to come up with compelling answers to the following:
- What unique, distinctive, or superior benefit or advantage do you offer, above and beyond those offered by your competitors?
- Why should your prospects do business with you instead of your competitors?
- What are the biggest fears, frustrations, concerns and issues customers have when they deal with you or your industry?
Once you can answer these questions you’ll be well on your way to identifying your unique advantage.
Please share your thoughts and add your questions to the comments below. I’ll try to provide as many answers as possible in my future online videos, seminars, workshops, masterclasses and blog posts.
And if you enjoyed this post you may enjoy these posts as well.
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