Why USP Is No Longer ‘Unique Selling Proposition’…

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

USP and markerWhenever salespeople start talking about their products to prospects, the inevitable question about ‘what makes you different?’ will always crop up.

Prospects want to know that they are getting a great product at a great price with great back-up.

In value terms, they don’t want to regret a decision afterwards.

When you are asked ‘what makes you different?’, how do you normally respond?

If you’re like most people, you’ll start talking about your products or services and identify what differentiators you have against your competition. 

We refer to these as your USPs (unique selling propositions) and they are meant to be statements that make you stand apart from your competitors so the prospect says that you are the choice they should be aiming for.

The challenge these days is that most of your ‘uniqueness’ isn’t!

That is, your competitors have products and services that can match or beat the results you can achieve with your products.

These days, many companies can do what you do cheaper, faster, better.

So what could you offer that will have the competition beat? 

Well, you can still keep your USP, but instead call them your ‘Ultimate Strategic Position’.

The problem with ‘unique selling proposition’ is that it’s focused on you.

Your product is different in this way, your back-up is different in that way, etc.

The fact is, the customer isn’t interested.

The fact that your product is better quality is not going to create an emotional connection to your product by the prospect.

Your ‘ultimate strategic position’ is where you devote yourself to helping your prospect and their business succeed.

You should be thinking, not about what your product or service ‘does’ but how it helps their business increase sales, improve productivity or make more profit.

In other words, how does what you sell help them sell or do more?

If you are selling advertising space, for example, your unique selling proposition might be that you help businesses reach more people in their sector than any other media source.

That’s good up to a point, but it doesn’t mean that the customer will make more sales or increase profit.

A unique strategic position that you could set up would talk about how you help businesses to improve people’s lives in the industry sector or community.

This means that you concentrate on the buyer’s buyers.

You help them strategically place their products and services in a way that makes the final customer think your customer is the best.

Think about how you could turn your uniqueness into a strategic position.

If you sell IT services, your uniqueness might revolve around your back-up services or how your software is more user-friendly than the competition.

Your strategic position may change the way you approach the customer.

Instead of covering how you are better, highlight how you make the end-users’ lives easier and hence allow them to work on other projects quicker because it allows time to be saved.

You ultimate strategic position should be about how you as a company improve results in the final analysis, as this is really what your customers are buying.

If you can move away from being internally focused about your own product, and towards what your strategic focus can do for the buyer, you’re talking their language and may find that you get more interest in your products and services along the way.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 9 December, 2015

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