In this episode, Paul explains the unique selling proposition.
Why should the buyer pay a dollar more for your solution, if they don’t see a dime’s worth of difference?
Think of your industry and how many competitors sound and look the same. If your message blends in, how can you stand out?
“Ross Revaes said that a unique selling proposition has to have these three things…”
What is so uniquely yours that other companies compete with you, but you don’t have to compete with them? The answer to this question will unlock your unique selling proposition.
“What is your company’s fresh hot beignet?”
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What is the unique selling proposition?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today’s question, it comes from, actually, a recent training seminar. I was working with a virtual sales team. We were working on customer messaging, and one of the salespeople was asking about a uniqueness statement. They were curious, “How can we create something that is unique to our company; something that will stand out, something that’s different?” And that’s what we’re going to answer on today’s show is how do we create the unique selling proposition? So that’s going to be the focus of the show today.
Before we do that, a quick shout-out to our sponsor, Andrea, and The Creative Impostor Studios. When it comes to podcasting, Andrea is the go-to person. She’s going to help you launch the podcast. If you have questions about it, if you’re just curious about it, if you want to learn more and you’re thinking about creating a podcast to connect with your audience, reach out to Andrea and her team at The Creative Impostor Studios. As always, we’re going to have a link to her website on this episode’s webpage.
Also, make sure you pick up your latest edition of Value-Added Selling. In the fourth edition, we have a whole section on customer messaging and we talk about the value proposition, the unique selling proposition. Also, we talk about the pain proposition. So, if you need some help; if you’re looking to focus more on crafting a message that is compelling, pick up your latest copy.
Also, wanted to mention one thing about the website, TheQandASalesPodcast.com. We have updated a feature. We actually now have a search feature on the website. If you go to the website and you’re looking for questions, if you wanted to see if we’ve already answered your question on previous shows, check it out. The search bar is new. We just launched it, maybe, couple weeks ago. Check it out. And also, big shout-out to St. Louis Digital Media for the website. They did a wonderful job there.
Let’s get into today’s question. What is the unique selling proposition? You’ve heard this term before, USP. It’s nothing we’ve created. In fact, the term unique selling proposition dates back into the forties and fifties. There was an advertising executive, his name was Ross Reeves. Ross Reeves actually developed that phrase, the unique selling proposition. Here’s how he describes it. He said a unique selling proposition has to have three things. Number one, it has to be completely unique to your company, meaning, it’s only something that your company can claim. The second thing, it has to make some sort of proposition, meaning, when a buyer purchases and experiences your solution, they get this benefit. So it has to make some sort of proposition. And the third one, it has to be compelling enough to move the masses. That’s what Ross Reeves describes a unique selling proposition as.
We know the challenge today. As a salesperson, messages start to blend in. Things start to sound, look, and feel the same. If you think about it, look in your particular industry. Think about all the competitors that you have that are claiming the same exact thing. And so when customers are constantly bombarded with the same message promising the same level of service, the same benefits, everything starts to blend in. It becomes almost a like a commodity-type product. And we know that when everything sounds, and looks, and feels the same, buyers will focus on price when they make their buying decision. So it’s critical that we need to highlight a uniqueness statement. That’s what we’re going for here: A statement that explains something unique to your company, something that you’re known for, something that only you can claim. That’s what we’re going for here. That’s what a unique selling proposition really is.
I’ll give you an example of this. One of the questions that we’ll pose to salespeople in our training seminars, we always ask them, “What is so uniquely yours that others compete with you, but you don’t have to compete with them?” Think about that question for a moment. What is so uniquely yours that others compete with you, but you do not have to compete with them? When we have salespeople think about this, and when we have sales leaders come into our trainings and they start talking about this, this always turns into an interesting conversation. People will share their thoughts, their ideas, what customers are telling them, what they think they’re known for. And then we, hopefully, drill that down into some sort of unique statement. We take all of that information, we put it together, and we develop a uniqueness statement.
I’m going to share a quick story that explains the power of uniqueness. Several years ago, I was working with a client down in New Orleans. New Orleans is known for many things, but the food in New Orleans is absolutely incredible. In fact, my parents actually used to live in New Orleans for a little while, and they would always rave about the food. There’s one in particular food that my dad would always rave about, and it is beignets. Fresh, hot beignets. And if you’ve had a beignet before, you know that they’re absolutely delicious. It’s like a fried-dough type bread, but with a powdered sugar on it. It’s wonderful.
So I get down to my hotel and I’m talking to the concierge, and I said, “Hey, I know New Orleans is known for its great food, but there’s one I’m looking for. I really want to go get a good beignet.” The hotel concierge, he said, “Well, you can get a good beignet anywhere in New Orleans.” He pointed down the street. He said “Right here on Canal Street, there are several restaurants. All of them are serving fresh, hot beignets.” He goes, “In fact, we’re going to be giving away fresh, hot beignets in our hotel lobby in just about ten minutes if you want to wait.” But he asked me a question. He said, “Do you really just want a good beignet, or do you want the beignet?” And I said, “I want the beignet.” And he said, “If you want the beignet, you need to go down to Café Du Monde. It’s about two miles from here, right past Jackson Square. You want to go there because Café Du Monde was the very first restaurant to serve fresh, hot beignets here in New Orleans. You got to go with the original.”
And so that’s what I did. I walked past dozens of restaurants that were serving fresh, hot beignets. I walked past free hot, fresh beignets in the hotel lobby just so that I could experience the original. That’s their unique selling proposition. They were the first. They were the first to start serving fresh, hot beignets in New Orleans. No other restaurant can claim that. And when you think about that from a marketing perspective, from a sales perspective, when you are the original, when you are the original, people also believe that you were the best. There’s something associated with that. And so, that is their unique selling proposition.
The key is, what is your company’s beignet? What can you claim that nobody else can claim, and is it really compelling enough to move the masses? So again, I want you to think about that question: “What is so uniquely ours that others try to compete with us, but we don’t have to compete with them?”
Once you’re able to figure out what that statement is, what the answer to that question is, you can develop a uniqueness statement around that. Then, like anything else, think about your uniqueness statement and ask yourself, “How does this really impact the buyer?” When you do this, you’re creating a unique selling proposition.
Make it a big day.