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What Exactly Is A Unique Selling Proposition?

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by: James Copper
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You may think you know what a unique selling proposition is but how closely have you examined the concept? It is more than the point of difference that your business, product or company may have. It has sometimes been expressed as a unique buying advantage, a unique value proposition or several other ways. But essentially it is an expression of your business or product or service in a single short statement. No matter how it is used, a USP differentiates the business, product or service dramatically from the competition.

It presents a point of view, a promise or a deal that no one else make. Or it can be a benefit applying to just your business, product or service. For instance pay only for parts not for labor. Or free interior design services, pay only discounted prices for home decorating items purchased through us. Or 24 hour auto servicing conducted at your home whenever it suits you. You will not in the preceding examples that your USP has to be succinct and terribly attractive. It must immediately make the prospective customer think of making deal with your business.

There is a bit of reverse psychology at work here. In all three instances above the implication is that the competition is frightfully limited. The implication is that other businesses your competitors charge for labor as well as parts and this makes them really expensive. It implies that interior design services are really expensive and here you get it free and you would have had to pay retail prices for interior design items anyway. It implies that no other auto servicing firm will do this, certainly not on a 24 hour basis. The USP is therefore startlingly different, definitely unique.

Think about it. Why should people buy from you and no one else? More saliently, why should they move from another supplier to you? They are going to need a good reason and the USP gives them just that. Jumping around and shouting Buy from me will achieve nothing. Yet most people do just this. They have no USP to offer. Maybe this is why so many businesses go under before they reach their fifth year of existence. So let your USP spell out your major benefit to the prospect if he or she buys. A good USP could mean your business survival.

So whatever you are selling, think of the greatest benefit it offers. Turn this into a phrase and you will have a USP. Then work on that, test it on friends and family and see which version of your USP gets the most positive response. Just keep on focusing on the unique appeal of your business, services and products and very soon you will have a strong USP. That benefit or promise is going to become the marketing mantra of your product or service. It is an important marketing device.

To sum up, your USP should set you apart by filling an obvious and void in the marketplace of which the buyer may not have thought. Your USP positioning should set you apart from the competition very definitely. It must be strong enough to excite buyers. The USP must convey to prospective buyers what is in it for them if they do business with you.

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