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How to Develop Your USP

There are several approaches you can take to developing your USP. Most relate to what your competition is doing, and what you do differently. 

1. The direct approach.

What you want to achieve is the ability to explain in 20 words or less how you are uniquely different from everybody else. Fill in these blanks:

We are the only ______ that does ____________ for __________.

Not every blank has to be unique, but the combination should be.  If you cannot do this, you better work on your offering until you can say this in a way that the customer clearly benefits from dealing with you, rather than the competition. 

Notice too, that not only do you need to figure out what to offer, you need to figure out whom to offer it to.  That is covered in Identify The Niche Market Or Specific Target Audience You Will Sell To.

2.  An indirect approach.

Sometimes hitting something head-on stifles the creative juices.  You may try the indirect approach proposed by Terry Dean in his article Developing A Unique Selling Proposition or USP

Basically it involves looking at your competition and figuring out where they are lacking online...and writing down

"You know how..." and continuing with what your competition does wrong or not at all, and following with

writing "Well, what I do is..."

Write down what sets you apart from every one of your competitors. Spend some time with this. Leave it for a few days.  When you come back to it you may have some fresh insights.  Ask you co-workers.  Ask you customers.  Ask your suppliers.  Get ideas.  After all, everyone is entitled to their stupid opinion, right?  :))

Once you have a bunch of ideas, begin selecting among them, and try writing it into the one sentence template suggested above.  Get it boiled down to the point that you can explain your USP in just a few words. That is the essence of Gary Lockwood's  Developing Your Verbal Logo.

When I managed political campaigns, we trained the candidates to be able to deliver their "30 second sound bites".  Your USP is very similar. You don't have much time to transmit your key message to the visitor, so it must be concise.

Not only is your USP key to setting your business apart from the crowd, but it also serves another purpose. It is similar to a mission statement.  Once committed to in writing, it is amazing how it helps you make day to day decisions, all in accordance with the guiding principle - your USP. You consider how your choices will affect your living up to the USP or mission statement, and that consistency, day after day, will drive you to success.

You will design your business around it. You will have focus.  You will write your ads with that in mind, and highlighted. You will talk about it, in person and on the phone.  You will include it in your signature file that you add to your e-mail messages.  You will talk with your employees about it, and brainstorm with them better ways to deliver on the USP. You will insist they use the language in their sales presentations. 

In time, you will become known for this advantage in the business.  You will become known as the one who they can get _____ from in your industry.

Selecting your USP is so important that I have included two excellent articles on the topic by other people.  Perhaps you will better and more fully appreciate the critical importance of your USP after reading about it from a total of three of us.

Developing Your Verbal Logo, by Gary Lockwood

Developing A Unique Selling Proposition or USP, by Terry Dean