Written by Sean McPheat |
In days gone by, many companies used to rely on their USPs to carry them through.
They touted their Unique Selling Points as their main competitive advantage and they proved to be very effective when prospects were searching for answers to their problems.
As time has passed, however, the unique offerings companies had have been copied and surpassed by other companies, leaving those previous USPs in tatters.
In fact, many companies consider their USPs to still be unique to them, but they are sadly mistaken.
A group of salespeople on one of our sales programmes were asked about their USPs recently.
They quoted ‘Quality, Value and Back-Up Services’ as their main selling points.
We took a couple of their products and did a fairly quick analysis of their competitors’ products through websites, LinkedIn and Facebook.
As you may probably guess, their competition also pushed those three similar components as their USPs.
The sales guys we were working with were unaware of the USPs their competition were pushing.
It makes sense, though, that these generic offerings were to be matched or bettered by the competition.
They soon saw that what they thought were unique offerings were far from it.
In fact, one competitor’s products outlasted and outperformed the products of the sales team we were working with in every facet we measured.
So, they asked, if we’re not unique, how can we sell our products?
Fair question, and we set about answering it.
The truth is, if your products are not unique (and there aren’t that many around these days) then what have you got to beat the competition with?
Well, the fact is that companies these days are looking for a lot more than products when they buy from you.
They are more interested in how you can change their business for the better.
So, slowly, suppliers are recognising that USPs rarely exist anymore.
This revolution has changed suppliers’ perceptions from offering USPs to DSPs.
A DSP is a company’s differentiation from the other suppliers and market providers.
If there’s little or nothing that you can offer that’s unique, what can you do that differentiates you from competitors?
This now is the key question.
Rather than think about uniqueness, which will probably be copied or bettered soon anyway, what can your company offer that will make more of a difference to your prospects than simply a better product?
This is what differentiates you.
This is what sets you apart from others.
You need to have that differentiator that proves to be a game-changer for your prospects, customers and clients.
It could be the extra productivity your product provides.
It could be the extra profit it generates.
Maybe it makes the end-users’ lives easier.
Perhaps it provides opportunities that other companies don’t.
You no longer have to be unique in the market place.
But you do have to offer something that makes you different in the short and long-term.
That way, your customer can see the differential in dealing with you, rather than going for a cheaper product.
Originally published: 31 August, 2016