When a person walks past the front door to your business, what goes through their mind? Is there an underlying message that defines exactly why your product or service is revolutionary in today’s marketplace? Does it make that person feel confident in conducting business with your company?If you’ve answered “no” to any of those questions, it is likely that you haven’t invested enough time in discovering your unique selling position….and your competitors are thankful for it.
A unique selling position is nothing more than a basic slogan; a few words put together to create an image within your customer’s minds. This concept should focus on the main selling point of your business, and it should be clever enough so that when someone first sees this message there is an immediate impulse to buy your product. Your unique selling position could have to do with price, superior service, great employees, ease of convenience, or a hundred other aspects of what defines your business, but ultimately it is there to serve one basic purpose; to show why people should choose you over your competitor.
There have been a number of unique selling positions throughout the years that have been wildly successful. “Fifteen minutes can save you 30% or more on your car insurance.” “Where’s the beef?” “And like a good neighbor…” “Home of the $5 foot long.” Each of these conveys a perception of superiority within their respective markets, and regardless if they are actually true or not they instill confidence within consumers. Does Wendy’s really have the beefiest hamburgers around? Will State Farm, acting like a good neighbor, loan me a box of muffin mix or pick up my kids from school? Of course not, but those campaigns were both ridiculously successful because it created a unique impression on consumers.
If your business does not have a unique selling position, it’s time to find one. Of course, some might say that this is nowhere near an easy task, but what made you open the business to begin with? Looking back at the inception of your company is often a great way to gain insight on what your business personally has over its competitors, and if that advantage is no longer there then it is time to change directions. There are only three ways for a business to grow-
1) Expand the client base.
2) Increase the average transaction size.
3) Increase the frequency that your customers make a purchase.
A different approach may be to look at your competitor’s unique selling position. Once Geico began making statements of offering genuine savings on vehicle coverage, every one of their competitors began throwing out their own figures stating why they had the least expensive insurance. Once Subway had a massive success with $5 subs, $5 value meals began popping up all over the place. Each of these businesses had success based off of their competitor’s unique selling position by offering a little bit more or approaching from a slightly different angle, and there is absolutely no reason why your company could not do exactly the same thing.
For starters, get out your local Yellow Pages and glance through every single business that remotely relates to your industry. Study each advertisement and look for something that makes them unique and without considering anything but that actual print ad, select the one that is the most appealing. Your first goal is to invent a unique selling point that stands out better than that one, and the likelihood of customers calling you whenever they use the Yellow Pages increases dramatically. Repeat this process in magazines, newspapers, on the internet, listening to radio commercials, and physically visiting your competitor’s storefronts; noting what stands out as strong selling points and what doesn’t.
Now that you’re armed with your competitor’s thoughts, it’s time to become the area leader on paper; which is what consumers that have no idea about the industry will see. The guy down the street from you may have lower prices, better service, a prettier receptionist, more options to choose from, and newer technology behind his product, but if consumers walk into your store first then none of that matters. The one thing you’re looking for is the absence of something in your competitor’s advertisements that is important to consumers, and once that area is discovered it should be your focal point.
For example, let’s say that you run a pest control business. The odds are favorable that your competitors use similar chemicals, have similar response times, competitive prices, and equally knowledgeable when it comes to exterminations. If not, then you already have a huge unique selling point to advertise with, but for the point of argument let’s say that those items are all equal. When consumers call a pest control company, what do they really want? Of course dead critters would fall on top of the list, but they’re also probably worried about some other issues. Having a stranger spray pesticide inside their home is probably a major concern, plus there may be an embarrassment factor involved with how the infestation occurred in the first place. Questions about safety for their pets and/or children might also be a smart unique selling point to address, or it could be something as simple as stating that your staff is there to answer any questions to make the entire process easier. Your unique selling point could be your competitor’s main weakness, and as long as it appeals to consumers then it will naturally drive in business.
The key behind a unique selling point is to get consumers calling or visiting you before even considering the other businesses in town, so when thinking of one try to envision what your customer really wants and how to get that first sale opportunity. That’s all that really matters; and you’d probably be amazed by how many customers you miss out on each and every day because of this one little oversight. Once your business develops a great unique selling point and implements it throughout the community, the sky is literally no longer a limit.