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Know your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

By Julie King |

A seasoned marketer can tell you that to sell your product, you need to understand what makes it unique. This special uniqueness, which will make your product stand out in the marketplace, is commonly known as your 'unique selling proposition' (USP).

The concept is simple enough. Yet even seasoned entrepreneurs will often have difficulty in putting the unique benefits of their product into words.

The obvious starting point is to ask yourself what differentiates you from your competition. Is it the quality? Price? Are you targeting a niche market? Try making a bullet point list of your best – and most unique – attributes.

Once you have a feeling for your uniqueness, try pulling the benefits apart from the features. Too many businesses promote the features of their products, when it's really the benefits that sell. Ask yourself: who are my customers, and why should they buy from me? How does my product benefit them? Typical answers could be to save time, save money, provide a more comprehensive (one-stop-shop) service, etc.

After you have developed your own list of benefits it is time to call in the experts. Your clients. Select a few clients that you have good relationships with, buy each one coffee or lunch, and ask them to help you identify why they selected you over competing firms. You may be surprised by what you hear.

The next step is to put the overall picture together. You want to narrow down the list of the ideas and comments that you received into three core concepts. Once you have done that you will want to express each concept in 7 words or less - brainstorming with people you trust can really help.

Now that you have refined your message around your USP it it time to review your communication materials – everything from your website, brochures, advertisements, and business cards. Are you effectively promoting your best selling points? Is your message clear? Is it compelling?

If not it is time to redevelop your materials to promote the benefits - not the features - of your products and services.

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