Competition in today’s global marketplace is fierce. Most products and services on the market today have multiple competitors. Do your potential customers believe your solution is interchangeable with your competitor’s solutions? Do you know what differentiates your product or solution from the rest of your competitors? It is amazing how many sales professionals have never sat down to really examine their Unique Selling Propositions in a way that allows them to win business from their competition. That is not just understanding what your competitors don’t do, but instead understanding what you do and how it helps your customers.
Sales professionals need to understand their own Unique Selling Proposition (USP) so well that they can articulate it in a way that prospective customers see and understand the value their solution brings to the table. When a sales professional can truly do this with confidence and enthusiasm, they will substantially increase their win ratio.
Here are five steps to work through to help you communicate your USP with more passion and influence:
- Why do customers want my product or service (What does it do for them)? It is tempting to just say what your product does, but you really need to understand the reason why the customer wants it. An example is sales training. Organizations don’t just want sales training; what they want is the end result of what sales training will give them. In the case of sales training, organizations may want to become more profitable or gain market share. Knowing this, you can stop talking about your product and start talking about what they want.
- How does my product or service uniquely deliver what they want? This is the difference between your product or service and every other competitor on the market. An example is when you look at buying an iPhone vs an Android. Both are smartphones that can perform similar functions. However, Android is both open source and open to alternative applications making it a far more flexible alternative. But, iPhone’s iOS has more consistent updates and a closed ecosystem that is harder to penetrate making it more secure. Both have users that would never switch from one to the other because of what they perceive as the uniqueness of what their phone offers.
- Why would customers do business with you over your competition? An example of this is when I sold call center solutions back in 2001 during the time when terrorists attacked. I had several competitors that were priced lower than my solution, but I understood their business well enough to talk in terms of their interest. I knew that any system failure would be catastrophic to their businesses, and not only could we run redundant systems, but none of the lower-priced competitors could drop-ship a whole new system overnight to them if there was an emergency. We also had 24/7 field support to complete the emergency installation. This gave us a huge competitive advantage over any lower-priced system at a time when call centers were looking at emergency preparedness.
- Combine the first three questions above into a written statement. This is where you take everything you came up with from the first three questions and start putting them together in a few sentences that talk to your product or solution’s unique ability.
- How can you articulate your ability (proficiency?) to your customers in a few words? Once you have a working idea or theme from the step above, you need to boil it down to a few words that capture your product or solution’s uniqueness. You see examples of this when you watch commercials from automotive manufactures. Ford – “Go Further”, Chevy – “Like a Rock”, or Toyota’s – “Let’s Go Places” are all examples of appealing to what their end customer is ultimately looking for.
Take the time to sit down and work through the steps above to understand and articulate your Unique Selling Proposition. When you do this, you will be energized and able to win deals with confidence.