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The December article Why Should I buy From You, outlined the idea of a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – what it is and what it can do for you. In this article we consider a step-by-step method you can use to develop your own USP.

Your USP is a sentence or phrase that explains what makes you special. It gives your prospects a reason to do business with you rather than your competitors. A good USP that is properly used makes your marketing a lot more effective. Because it gives you dominance over a market niche.

When developing your USP, it is important that you put yourself in your prospects’ position. Look at your product or service from the point of view of someone thinking about buying it. What is important to your potential customer and what would be a compelling reason for that prospect to buy from you instead of your competition?

Your customers’ interest is focused on what your product or service does for them – the benefits. How using your product solves a problem or improves an outcome. The key to unlocking the decision to buy is offering benefits that outweigh what the competition offers.

So benefits are all about how your product adds value for your customer. While features relate to what goes into making the product or service and how it is delivered to customers. This is an important distinction. Because customers are really not interested in features. They are only motivated by benefits.

For example, saying that there is a lifetime guarantee on your products is describing a feature. The benefit is that customers don’t take any risk by buying your product. A powerful USP is one that is focused on benefits that only you offer.

So, to start with, list all the features of the product or service that your business offers. When you can’t think of any more, go through each feature and look at it from the customer’s point of view. What is the benefit? List all the benefits next to the corresponding features.

Your USP must be focused on benefits that only you offer. So, eliminate from your list all benefits that your competition is also offering. If you find that you have no benefits left after you do this, you may have to tweak some features so that they result in unique benefits.

You should end up with a few benefits to choose from. When deciding which one is the most suitable as the focus of your USP, ask these questions:

  • Which benefits are the most important to your client
  • Which benefits are the most difficult for your competitors to imitate
  • Which benefits can be most easily understood by customers

If, like most of us, you are in a competitive market, you can’t be all things to all people. In other words, you have to find a niche. A corner of the market that you can take ownership of because of the unique benefits you offer. Remember, focus is the name of the game.

When you have identified the benefits you want to use, you can start writing the USP. Start off with a paragraph that describes the unique benefit or package of benefits. Then eliminate all unnecessary words. Cut it down until you have only one sentence that says it all.

A good USP should be:

  • Only one sentence.
  • Clearly written so that everyone can understand it.
  • Composed of benefits that are unique to your company or product.

The Domino’s Pizza USP is a good example of a Unique Selling Proposition that does all of these things:

"Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in thirty minutes or less, guaranteed"

When you have a USP, make sure that it is incorporated in all your communications to potential customers. Also ensure that it is well understood by your whole team and consistently delivered on. You will attract a strong following of loyal customers and your business will thrive.

This Marketing article was written by Mark Munday on 2/11/2005

As a Business Strategy Coach, Mark works with business owners, helping them make the most of their businesses. He uses a powerful system to unleash vigorous business growth in your business. For more information and to subscribe to Mark’s newsletter visit him online at