Setting Yourself Apart: Unique Selling Proposition

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    Unique Selling Proposition: Setting Yourself Apart

    (Guest post from Michael Zipursky.)

    Lack of focus.

    That’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a consultant. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re a marketing, management, or public relations consultant (or any other type of consultant for that matter). The client of today has almost infinite possibilities to choose from when it comes to selecting a service provider to help them. And if you fail to give them an overwhelming reason to do business with you, they simply won’t.

    Today, at the click of a mouse, a potential customer can leave you and your business in the dust as they scoot off to find someone that does a better job of catching their interest and engaging them. So how can you stand out in such a crowded consulting marketplace? Let me introduce you to the Unique Selling Proposition – widely known as the USP – and how your business can benefit from it.

    A USP is a memorable statement about your product or service that gives your customers a compelling reason to buy from you. There are two components to the USP.

    1. It must be “unique”, meaning the claim you make should only be able to be made by you or at least be original, ie. none of your competitors are making it.
    2. And it must include a “selling proposition”, the reason why your customer should buy your product or service.

    When every business in your industry is saying the same thing: “High quality” “Customer satisfaction” and all that other hoopla… the best way to differentiate your business is by making your difference stand out.

    Let’s take a look at one of the most memorable USPs around: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.” That one statement from FedEx, repeated all through its marketing and advertising, over time propelled them to the top of their industry.

    Let’s take a look at another one: “Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less.” Dominoes dared to be the first to make a bold promise to the consumer about delivering pizza right to their door and getting it there in a timely manner.

    The key to a winning USP is to make sure that you not only state what is unique about your product but also how it benefits your customers. To create a USP for your consulting business take a look at your competitors and try to find gaps of unfilled customer needs around things like the guarantee offered, speed of service, superior quality, and better prices to name a few. Don’t just use those words as jargon though, figure out what your customers want that no one else is offering or talking about, and then craft your USP in easy-to-understand language so that it speaks directly to your customers.

    The next step is getting the word out. Include your USP in all of your marketing materials, advertisements, signs, and other communications. Remember, your potential customers aren’t looking for more options. They’re looking for the right one. Stand up, stand out and you’ll be well on your way to attracting more business.


    Michael Zipursky is a marketing consultant and co-founder of Business Consulting Buzz – a site that features articles, interviews, tips, and more to help you set your consulting fees and become a more successful consultant.