Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why buy yours instead of the others?

A Unique Selling Proposition can be summarized in one short sentence; Why buy yours instead of the others? This concept was created by American advertising executive Rosser Reeves (1910 to 1984). He believed that the only purpose of advertising was to communicate a particular company's slogan for their product or service and that this slogan should remain unchanged.
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP in short) tells the business community three pieces of information:
What you have to offer (specifics)
What you do that makes you special (something they didn’t know)
What you will do for them that would make them want to do business with you (the pitch in fifteen seconds or less).
 The catch is that the proposition must offer your potential customers a specific benefit that they see as attractive. It serves as the theme of your marketing and it is a critical tool for any business.
To create a Unique Selling Proposition, ask yourself, "What is it that my product or service offers that my competitors' products or services don’t offer?"
Before you can begin to sell your product or service to anyone else, you have to sell yourself on it. This is especially important when your product or service is similar to those around you. Very few businesses are one-of-a-kind. Just look around you: How many clothing retailers, hardware stores, shoe retailers and electricians are truly unique?
The key to effective selling in this situation is thus a "unique selling proposition" (USP). Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of stiff competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.
 Here's how to uncover your USP and use it to power up your sales

1) 1 – Brainstorm.

Pinpointing your USP requires some hard soul-searching and creativity. One way to start is to analyze how other businesses use their USPs to their advantage. This requires careful analysis of other companies' ads and marketing messages. If you analyze what they say they sell, not just their product or service characteristics, you can learn a great deal about how companies distinguish themselves from competitors.
Write down whatever comes to mind when you think about your business. What are you most proud of? How do you enhance your clients’ lives? What do your best clients say about you? Where does your expertise lie? Try filling out the following statement:
“I help _____________your target audience______________
who are struggling with__your target audience’s problems______________
by ______________________ your solution______________________.
For instance, _____give an example of a success story__________________.”
Find a USP "peg" on which to hang its marketing strategy. A business can peg its USP on product characteristics, price structure, placement strategy (location and distribution) or promotional strategy. These are what marketers call the "four P's" of marketing. They are manipulated to give a business a market position that sets it apart from the competition.
2) Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Too often, entrepreneurs fall in love with their product or service and forget that it is the customer's needs, not their own, that they must satisfy. Step back from your daily operations and carefully scrutinize what your customers really want. Your customers could be coming back again and again and ignoring your competition because of may be quality, convenience, reliability, friendliness, cleanliness, courtesy or customer service. Remember, price is never the only reason people buy. If your competition is beating you on pricing because they are larger, you have to find another sales feature that addresses the customer's needs and then build your sales and promotional efforts around that feature.
3) Know what motivates your customers' behavior and buying decisions. Effective marketing requires you to be an amateur psychologist. You need to know what drives and motivates customers. Go beyond the traditional customer demographics, such as age, gender, race, income and geographic location that most businesses collect to analyze their sales trends.
Once you've gone through this three-step market intelligence process, you need to take the next--and hardest--step: clearing your mind of any preconceived ideas about your product or service and being brutally honest. What features of your business jump out at you as something that sets you apart? What can you promote that will make customers want to patronize your business? How can you position your business to highlight your USP?
Don't get discouraged. Successful business ownership is not about having a unique product or service; it's about making your product stand out--even in a market filled with similar items.
The biggest question in your prospects’ minds when deciding which company to hire is “Why should I choose you to help me over every other option out there?” One way to answer this is by crafting a “Unique Selling Proposition” a concise statement that stresses the core benefits of working with you. Then ask yourself what specific benefit this provides your customers.

Now put it all together in one sentence memorable enough to use as an advertising slogan. Then use it - in your advertising, on your website, on your marketing materials - wherever it might get the attention of potential customers.

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