The biggest secret to success? knowing your Unique Sales Proposition
July 30, 2014
That sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett knows it and so does Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft. Its a secret that many successful people learn early on - including myself. Warren Buffet once said, when asked what most successful investors look for in a company "sustainable competitive advantage".
Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Anthony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, and many others like them figured it out a long time ago. By not trying “to be all things to all people,” they were able to cultivate an image and business foundation that focused on one to two niches that they had perfected and understood, and from there they grew them into dominating income streams.
What is it? knowing your unique sales proposition for both yourself and whatever it is you are trying to sell.
Don’t leave this until the last moment when you start your business. Understand quite clearly what your USP is and be sure to know that it’s not just about your product or service, it’s also about you – after all unless you raise a bucket of money not only will you be the chief dishwasher, receptionist, accounts clerk, social media strategist and marketing dogs body – you will also be the chief sales person.
Test your USP selling style in the mirror, in front of friends and family but remain unemotional and be critical. This is where you have to transition your thinking from “I would buy this product” to “someone else will buy this product”.
Earlier I said it was important to clearly articulate your Unique Sales Proposition. To try and expand on that, by not only understanding the USP of your product or service but also of yourself. At the end of the day people may in fact buy from you as the personality much more so than the product initially.
For example if you are opening up a café the first thing people will see is you – so what makes them want to buy from you? Is there something about that smile or engaging personality?
The same is true of the services and consulting sectors where people will normally make a decision based on the person making the presentation and how trustworthy they are.So, in the first instance make it clear what your own USP is – is it personality, experience, knowledge or a combination of all three.Of course, you also need to clearly understand, document and articulate what the USP is for whatever it is you are selling.
Ask yourself some basic questions:
Why is it unique?
What separates it from everything or everyone else?
To test your USP, gather a group of friends and family and pitch it to them. Ask them to be honest and be prepared to take on criticism. Use their feedback to further refine your USP before stepping out in the market.
You never want to test it in front of a potential client or an investor. Remember, planning makes perfect.
Author Susan L Reid wrote the following:
I see the concept of uniqueness as the problem of the USP. Uniqueness is both (1) difficult to have and (2) tough to explain to the point of purchase preference.
Uniqueness basically means “exclusive.” You have to be the only one, or only company to have an exclusive. It usually means either a patent, or a head start,or a person.
1) A patent must be defendable, and must be on a significant capability that you can make extremely important in the eyes of your prospect. If you can say, “How would you like to do __________?” and most of your prospects respond, “I’d kill to be able to do that,” then you have a patent of significance.
2) By a head start I mean coming to market with a product or service early enough that even though you don’t have a patent, you have a proven and exciting solution to a noteworthy problem at least several years before any competitor can catch you.
3) A person can be a Unique Selling Point if you can build a “cult following” around him or her. If Warren Buffett left for a new investment company tomorrow morning what would Berkshire Hathaway’s stock price be by noon? It is still almost a weekly occurrence to see an article in business or technology magazines or on websites about whether Apple will really survive the death of Steve Jobs.
So come back to the question - what is your USP and that of your product or service?
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