January 22, 2019 // 3:00 pm

Unique Selling Points – How ‘Unique’ Are Your USP’s?

By Chris Frampton

When developing your value propositions, it’s so important that your USPs are incorporated into them to truly differentiate yourself from your competitors. However, so many companies are forgetting the ‘unique’ in their unique selling points, ignoring the fact that many of their competitors are selling themselves in the same terms –

“We’re innovative”

“We’re the market leaders”

“Our solution is future-proofed”

Yawn. All commonly used unique selling points, but less effective than the Brexit negotiations. These so-called unique selling points are being used every day; on websites, in marketing collateral, and in sales pitches to prospective clients. You might even be using them or similar ones yourself.

But if you are, ask yourself – “am I communicating any actual value to my prospects?”

At Punch!, we’re now using the term differentiators instead of USPs, to help shift the focus back to what is truly unique about our clients.

Here’s how you can find your differentiators that will appeal to your prospects and that your competitors won’t be able to contend with.

Firstly list out all of the factors that you believe differentiate you from your competitors. It’s best to do this as part of a group, as your colleagues might have ideas that you haven’t considered. Write every potential idea down even if you disagree initially. You should ideally aim to reach 15-20 potential differentiators; once you have this many, you can start to trim them down.

Less Vague = More Tangible

Firstly let’s eliminate anything that’s too vague – we’ll use ‘innovative’ as an example.

Even if none of your competitors are innovative, it’s a vague enough statement that any of them could conceivably claim to be innovative without having to back it up.

However, if you’re giving a specific example of how you’re innovative, the end result will be more appealing to your prospects. It will also prevent your competitors from making the same claims. I’ll give you an example –

Punch! are innovative.

Now, do you believe me or do you think that’s just a marketing claim?

Okay…well how about if I say that Punch! are the first ABM agency in the UK to have developed a one-to-one personalised video marketing strategy for our clients?

It’s something that’s tangible and something that’s defensible against our competition; that they can’t legitimately claim.

So think about those vague differentiators. Other examples include ‘flexible’, ‘cost-effective’, or ‘best in class’.  Dig down further into these and find something specific that will really set you apart from your competitors.

Is it of Value to Your Prospects?

Now you’ll need to eliminate or update the differentiators that aren’t actually of value to your prospects. I’ll give an example – using the fact that you’re the ‘market leader’ as a differentiator.

Assuming that this is referencing revenue and not some obscure metric, at least this differentiator is clear-cut. Either a company is the market leader or it isn’t.

But when was the last time you made a purchasing decision just because a vendor was the market leader? It might have led you to look at that particular vendor first, but once comparing your available options there are many other factors you probably prioritised.

There must be a number of reasons why you became the market leader. The key in finding a good differentiator is being able to drill down and understand why you were chosen over your competitors.

If you’re still not sure, why not work out exactly who your best clients are, and then carry out a buyer persona analysis, by interviewing some of the key individuals at those accounts? You’ll be able to gather some high quality insights helping you understand exactly why they chose to give you their business.

I’ll bet no-one will say it’s because you’re the market leader!

Are Your ‘Unique Selling Points’ Unique to You?

Now that you have a number of differentiators that are specific and of value to your prospects, eliminate any that aren’t specific to your business. If a differentiator applies to a competitor as well, then remove it.

You might suggest that whilst you and a competitor actually both share what you thought was one of your USPs, yours has an advantage over theirs for a particular reason. For example, “ours is the only solution that can….”. In that case, the particular advantage of your solution over the competitors is the differentiator, rather than the solution itself.

Finding Your Core Differentiators

You should end up with a number of differentiators that are unique to you, clearly defined and have value for your prospects. Which of those differentiators will help your prospects solve their challenges and achieve their business goals?

Your next task as a group is to rank them in order of importance to your prospects, with 1 being the most important.

Your top three will be your best differentiators, the areas where you can offer most value to your prospects when compared to your competitors.

Key Takeaways

1) Avoid vague or generic terms or phrases. Drill down into the reasons why you’ve selected that particular term and find something specific to use instead

2) Think of differentiators that are of actual value to your prospects; the real reasons why customers and clients have come to you

3) Think ‘differentiators’ rather than unique selling points to find USPs that are truly unique to your business

4) Rank from the most important to the least, and use the top three as differentiators to use in your value propositions

If you have any questions on finding your differentiator, or any comments on what has been covered in this blog, please do email as at hello@punchabm.com or comment below!


For more on Modern Selling techniques in 2019 check out our blog, The Art of the Modern Sale: 5 Ways to Delight the Buyer of 2019!

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