USP or POD?
What are all these letters about and what has this got to do with my business?
They are acronyms for the most important tool you will ever find for giving your business a powerful statement that will impact your customers in a very decisive way.
Some marketing people talk about having a “unique selling proposition”. Others call it your “point of difference”. This concept was first formulated by Rosser Reeves and presented in his classic book “Reality in Advertising” way back when but it’s as valid today and probably even more so.
A Unique Selling Proposition is essentially what sets you apart from your competitors. It is a statement about what is unique about you and your business.
Your Unique Selling Proposition is that distinct appealing benefit or promise that sets your business apart from every other competitor. It’s the advantage that the customer gets when doing business with you and buying your product or service.
Telling people WHY They Should Choose YOU over your Competitors!
There are either one of two things happening for you at this point –
1: Most people will be thinking
“How much difference is there really between me and my competitors?”
Although this may be true, to a point, sometimes we also take for granted what we do and forget that we may be faster, better, more accurate or simply the best.
2: The other group of people will be thinking
“We know why people should choose us” – You need to be careful and check that you still follow this exercise. You still need to communicate those differences effectively.
There are actually 2 types of differences between you and your competition.
1: Actual difference: Unique goods or service that you provide
2: Perceived difference: Services or goods your competitors also provide but the difference is not known or felt by the public.
Setting Yourself Apart!
There are likely to be very few real differences between you and your competitors. So far as the prospect is concerned, you can still create differences. The real strength of your presentation comes from stating them or printing them in terms that have your goods or services as being recognized value and meaning to the prospect.
If you don’t have an obvious USP or POD then you need to be creative and create one!
You need to make the invisible… VISIBLE!
Here’s a classic case of hiding your light under a bushel and not shouting a point of difference from the roof tops. Most Salon owners, both hair and beauty will redo their service if a client is not happy… but how many of them tell the story about this?
So, here’s a great USP for salons…
“If you’re not absolutely delighted and your friends aren’t green with envy we will refund your money in full or re-do it Free!”
Now, nearly all salons would actually have a re-do it policy anyway but how many tell the story about it? So, you can see that you need to make the invisible… VISIBLE! In this case the USP has been beefed up with the money back aspect too.
Remember, you are not selling a product or service, you are selling a result or benefit!
So, start making your list. Have some fun with this. Brainstorm. Get your friends and family involved. (only if they’re positive types, no negativity allowed)
Build up an arsenal of headlines, sub-headlines and drafts.
Coming up with the right USP of your business can take some time but it is the cornerstone of all your marketing. It is a living statement that will evolve and grow as your business grows too.
Start your list –
1: The actual differences your business already has.
2: The differences you can create.
3: Features you can re-state as benefits in order to be perceived as superior.
When you are doing this important exercise, remember that the prospect ONLY cares about what these benefits will DO for them.
Then select from this list the items you feel are going to be most important to your prospects until you have far more than you could possibly fit in your statement.
Now look for ways to combine statements of benefits together that are similar. You also want to make it a short story version – keep them brief, cut out any words and fluff that are not necessary.
We have another tool you can use that will help you develop your UCBA which you will find after these examples.
A Few Powerful Examples…
Domino’s Pizza was a struggling business started by two brothers whose primary goal was to pay their way through university. Due to lack of success and downward spiralling finances, one of the brothers chose to opt out, taking with him his share of the business, a beat up VW.
The other brother went on to develop a multi-billion dollar empire based on one unique customer buying advantage “Piping hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or it’s free”
Were Domino’s the first company to deliver pizza? No! But they were the first to make such unique statement and promise and it is history now that this promise totally reshaped the pizza industry.
Budget rent a car have dominated of the car rental market because of geographical logistic advantages and agreements and they still do.
But Avis rent a car was able to make big inroads on their market share by making this unique statement “At Avis we are the second biggest so we try harder.” This sends a very strong message to the marketplace which gives an air of consumer confidence at their service and pricing. Consumers have responded by voting with their dollars.
Here are 5 Things Every Great USP Should Have:
1. It must be a clear and compelling statement that requires no further explanation. Do not try to be humorous or clever because your message may be completely missed. You should be able to communicate it to your grandmother or even a Year 8 child without having to explain it.
2. It must tell the complete story. Don’t think that you have to summarise your statement into a single sentence. If you can, that’s great, then by all means do that! But don’t shorten your story to make it fit into a sentence. You need to explain to a client why they should do business with you in one spiel.
3. It must promise to provide a benefit or solve a problem that your customers actually care about. Just being different to the sake of being different provides no value for them.
4. It has to have guts. A weak USP is as useful as no USP. It must make a statement or promise that none of your competitors are game to make. You need to stand out.
5. You must be able to deliver on your USP. Remember, this is a numbers game. If you need to fulfil on your promise on occasion but because of the math you know that you are miles in front. Do NOT skimp on this. Be bold and be in integrity and you will reap the reward.
So, what can you say about you to set yourself apart?
What’s your catch cry, your USP?
PS: I was talking to a Mortgage broker client the other day and we were trying to establish his USP. Not knowing a lot on this industry I thought I was dead in the water with helping him develop a POD but it turns out this guys offers a complete “done for you” no paperwork loan application – just sign here and your good to go loan system. Go figure what the USP will be?
… and whatever you do, do heartily…
Peter B Butler