The USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is one single, specific statement that is fact-based and proveable. The USP isn’t a string of superlatives that shares how great we believe we are, or that we’re the “best” or “only” company who does basic things like offers “excellent customer service.”
The thing is, any company can say anything it wants about itself.
But potential customers and clients know that. And they’ve long since grown weary of this incessant marketing language, and are looking for facts, data, and proof.
They want you to make it easy for them, so they can make a good buying decision.
If they’re on our websites or other web properties, the prospect obviously already has some interest in doing business with us.
Let’s make it easy for them by talking clearly, succinctly, and factually about exactly what they’ll get when doing business with us.
So how does one write a quality USP?
Examples for Acme, a scratch-made bechamel delivery service:
Bad: “Acme makes the best béchamel in the industry.”
Not a USP. (Why? “Best” is subjective, vague, and not provable.)
Good: “Acme’s béchamel uses hand-ground nutmeg and Italian flour.”
Is a USP. (Why? It’s specific, fact-based, and provable. One can later expand on how Chef grinds the nutmeg, what city the flour is sourced from, etc.)
Examples for Major Force, a root-cause high performance coaching company:
Bad: “Major Force offers superior service and compassionate coaching.”
Not a USP. (“Superior” and “compassionate” are subjective and not provable.)
Good: “Major Force’s coaching method is based on the science of how chronic stress impacts behavior.”
Is a USP. (It’s specific, fact-based, and provable. One can later expand on the exact science the methodology is based on, and why the prospect should care.)
Examples for Silly Sally Coaching, a business coaching company:
Bad: “Silly Sally Coaching helps clients get more work done than they ever have before, with our world-class cloning technology!”
Not a USP. (“More work” and “world-class” are subjective, vague, and/or not provable.)
Good: “Silly Sally Coaching clones each client, so they can get 2X the work done per day, every day!”
Is a USP. (It’s specific, fact-based, and provable. We can see, touch, and feel this body-double and measure their work output.)
Our 3rd example was tricky. (And morally concerning.)
Silly Sally’s “bad” USP sounded good. It highlighted benefits that seemed they should be attractive to potential clients.
What went wrong was that there wasn’t a way clients could quantify those benefits. (They may want to get work done “more quickly” … but more quickly than what? And exactly how quickly is that?)
Writing a top notch USP is really tough. As entrepreneurs, we’re conditioned to use sales language when we talk about our companies.
But is that really the best way? And is that what our ideal clients WANT?
Or don’t they just want to know exactly what to expect, so they can trust they’ll be happy after the sale?
Rules of Thumb:
If we can substitute any competing company’s name in our USP, it should not be our USP.
If we can’t prove it with data, it should not be our USP.
So… over to you: What’s your company’s USP?