Saturday, September 16, 2006

USP: What’s Makes You So Different?

When I first begin to work with a new client I ask them one simple question, so what makes you different from your competition?

The usual response I get from 99.9% of business owners is: We provide better customer service or our product is better quality. This response is returned with such pride and they truly do not understand why they get minimal phone calls from their advertising.

The next thing I do is grab a copy of the Yellow Pages and open it to the relevant section that their business is advertised under and show them, look every one else is saying the same thing…

And most the ads in the Yellow Pages are name, rank and serial number style ads, you might as well just photo copy your business card and stick it in there.

But the truth of the matter is that the business owner has absolutely no idea of how to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Now better service or better quality are just ‘fluff’ words in my opinion. The mean nothing, especially to a new prospective client, all they are concerned with is: What’s in it for me? Or what deal can I get?

This is where most advertising falls down. Even though when you look deep enough into a business they actually do in fact have real differences, the problem is they don’t advertise it.

So you see you USP that stands for Unique Selling Proposition or similar words to that effect, this basically means what makes you stand out from the crowd.

I’ll give you an example to make this more clear: A driving school I worked with had their USP as; ‘’You Learn Stress FREE Or You Don’t Pay, GUARANTEED!’

They surveyed they client base and found this to be the number frustration their current students were experiencing, so they built a guarantee around it.

Now that may seem a bit scary to some people at face value but once you investigate their stats, they came into the market place of 200 competitors in their local area.

Once they started promoting this ad, they grew within 18 months to be the 2nd place behind the market leaders who had been established for 56 years.

Why? Because they offered a real difference, everyone else was saying the same thing ‘ We offer the best service’ but these guys backed it up with proof and said we are willing to put our money where our mouth is and if your not happy then we will refund your money.

And the best part is that out of 3000 students they taught over that period only 3 people asked for their money back, and they charged about $10 more than the other 198 Driving Schools they were competing against.

So you can now see the power of differentiation when used effectively. Now the next question is: What are you doing in your business that makes you different from everyone else? Once you work that out, advertise it everywhere.