The Value in your USP

[MM_Access_Decision access='false']There are very few people in business who have never heard the term 'unique selling proposition' but do you really understand what it means for your business? This was a term first used in 1940 by an American advertising executive called Rosser Reeves. You may never have heard of Rosser, but I bet you've heard some of his USP's for big brands. Most of them were in the terms of slogans. He was responsible for the M&M's "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands"

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[MM_Access_Decision access='true']There are very few people in business who have never heard the term 'unique selling proposition' but do you really understand what it means for your business? This was a term first used in 1940 by an American advertising executive called Rosser Reeves. You may never have heard of Rosser, but I bet you've heard some of his USP's for big brands. Most of them were in the terms of slogans. He was responsible for the M&M's "Melts in your mouth, not in your hands"

Rosser understood that for a USP to work it had to be two things:
  • It must be Unique
  • It has to be of Value
The problem is that this has been lost recently.  In the first instance, most USP's are not unique.  It's the same as all of the competitors do too.  But, possibly most worrying, where the USP is unique, that uniqueness isn't of any real value to the customer.

Many businesses have a "well I should hope so" USP.  This is where their USP is actually something that when people read their response is "I should hope so"

Let me give you an example, here is a USP from a local vet "committed to providing you with the very best in pet healthcare."  Immediately on reading it you should be saying to yourself, "I should hope so, that's your core business."  If something is expected of the service, then it's not a USP, it's the same as everyone else in the industry offers or aspires to.

So, what about something that is unique.  "The oldest firm of solicitors in town."  It's certainly unique, and can be verified, but where's the value for the client?  They may have been around for a while, but does that make them better at what they do?  In actual fact, very few people will care when looking for a solicitor.

A good USP that always sticks in my mind was from a a video shop chain a few years ago "Get it first time, or get it free!"  It was certainly unique, no one else offered this at the time.  It was definitely of value, I knew if I made the journey to the shop I'd most likely get the video I wanted or it was free.

Think about your USP.  Is it really specific?  Will it make your clients go Wow! or "so what? I should hope so"  Does it really differentiate you from your competition?

You may think that in a small business it's you, the owner, that is the USP but you really need to translate that into why there is value in this.  Finally, if you're one of the thousands of bookkeepers up and down the country who have their USP as being friendly, professional, approachable, qualified or flexible, maybe it's time to rethink it now.

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