As a newbie on the Internet twelve years ago, I was full of ambition and bursting with energy. I was going to find the perfect program that sold the perfect product so I could retire to a perfect lifestyle with plenty of income. I had been fed so many motivational videos I was addicted… which led me to my greatest failures and most profound lessons.
Fortunately, a reality check halted my financial freefall. After years of frustration and nothing to show for my efforts except a debt approaching thousands of dollars, I began to realize that there is no such thing as the marketing success formula. But there was a clue -- something called USP, or Unique Selling Proposition/Point.
The difficult thing to understand about USP is that no one can hand it to you; not even me. Nobody can direct you to it; you have to discover it for yourself. USP is about making your offer different from and more valuable than, your competitors’ offer, and then, planting that idea in the minds of a targeted group of prospects.
The population in general is on advertising overload. They hold on to an idea of their own until some slogan or headline breaks through and persuades them to change. Position reflects your unique selling proposition, and that’s what makes your offer more valuable than what’s being offered by your competition.
Let me use FedEx for an example. They were competing with United Parcel Service and postal Priority Mail, but their slogan had two very important words that magnetized customers: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there tomorrow”. Ahh, absolutely, positively -- used alone, neither one has the same punch as both used together!
While you can’t be all things to all people, your business should be perceived as different from your competition in the minds of your prospects. It’s like answering their question: “… so what?” Make it short, simple, compelling, memorable, credible. Make it absolutely, positively better than your competition.
Domino’s Pizza doesn’t advertise a better pizza. They don’t advertise more toppings, crispier crust or even a better price. Can you recall their USP? Was it memorable? Sure you do --- “… hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less -- or it’s free”. Why call anyone else? Answer the door, it’s Domino’s.
You get USP right, everything is easy. You get USP wrong, everything is hard. The business world is fierce and only the strongest survive.
But supposing you found a perfect company in business for more than ten years. Supposing their product was on the cutting edge of a billion dollar market. And supposing their compensation plan had a 75% payout; do you still need USP? You better believe it.
Your competition now is your fellow teammates. You are all working for the same company, selling the same product, for the same price, and most are using the same scripts, the same ads posted in the same places. You are using the company’s replicated website that gives identical information. You look at your very large ID number and realize how vast your competition really is. And they’re all close at hand; at your heels, their breath on the back of your neck.
How can your offer differ from theirs? You can’t adjust the price or alter company policy. But you do need something grand, something powerful and competitively crushing that will set you apart from the rest. This will cause sleepless nights and mental agony until you fall on the solution. But it sure is a great feeling. Like some genie has popped out of a bottle and your wish has been granted.
When you find your USP, plate it in 14ct gold and offer only a smile when people ask, “…how do you do it?”
© 2006 Esther Smith
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Smith writes a weekly syndicated Newsletter; [email protected]?subject=subscribe and is a Founding Member of Emerald Passport, Inc. Her clients learn to trade a Linear JOB for Leveraged Income. Learn more: www.thepermanentventure.com/beginners.htm
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