How to create a USP and brand yourself!
Question: I have been struggling for a while to come up with a USP, and my concerns are growth, retention and branding of who we are.
OK, the three important points to keep in mind as you develop a USP are…
1. Formulate your USP from your prospects’ or clients’ point of view. Your USP can’t be something only you think is so wonderful that people would be interested. It should be something the prospects or clients want.
2. Whatever USP you come up with, deliver on its promise or promises. Do not state something you can’t fulfill.
3. Define your USP in one or two short paragraphs (ideally less than 100 words) that clearly spell out the benefits – not features – your customers will get from your product or from doing business with you.
Let’s talk about point #3 in detail.
Your USP should clearly state the benefits and not the features of your product.
There’s a big difference between benefits and features.
Features are product characteristics, such as the car has a 450 horse-power engine, seats are genuine leather, and so on.
Benefits are the financial rewards, such as saving time or money, or both. Or they can be emotional rewards like protection, peace of mind, and the security which the customers get from an insurance policy.
Benefits answer the customer’s most important question, “What’s in it for me?”
Let’s go with the feature above. The car has a 450 horse-power engine, seats are genuine leather, and so on.
The benefits are: Heads will turn when you drive by, and the girls will rush to take a ride in your new (whatever make).
If any of you reading this blog are in the insurance business, here are some USP’s I created.
For example: Let’s take the features A-rated carrier and comprehensive coverage.
The benefit of the A-rated carrier is: The insurance company has strong financial strength and stability to pay all the claims.
The benefit of comprehensive coverage is: Complete protection for you and your family.
The names of insurance policies are usually features. For instance: Decreasing term, mortgage life insurance and keyperson insurance.
The benefit of a decreasing term-mortgage life insurance policy is: You’ll have the money to pay off the house if the wage-earner dies.
The benefit of a keyperson insurance policy is: You’ll have the money to keep your business going in case your key employee dies.
As you can see, although product features are usually easy to identify and describe, product benefits can be trickier because they’re often intangible.
The benefits of an insurance policy usually are: (1) financial rewards like saving money and time, and (2) emotional rewards like protection, peace of mind, and security.
While it’s fine to talk to your prospects about the features of a policy, remember to always tell them what benefits they’ll get from the features.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What advantages do you offer your prospects and clients?
- Do you offer them the best policies?
- Do you give them the largest selection?
- Do you provide them with more service, advice, and follow-up than all your competitors?
- Do you offer them the fastest service?
- Are you open evenings and weekends, seven days a week, to better serve your clients?
- Can clients reach you after business hours?
- Do you educate your clients with special reports, newsletters, brochures, information hotlines, or other services to help them improve various aspects of their lives?
- Do you offer a guarantee?
Listen, even though you’ll need time to think about these questions carefully, answering them will allow you to create a compelling USP that’ll knock your prospects’ and customers’ socks off.
Another suggestion I would give you is to take advantage of gifting my book, “10 Marketing Mistakes That Steal Your Cash,” to all of the business people in your town. Then call on them and show them how you can benefit them. If you missed this FREE offer I made in a previous blog post, you can go to www.kenvarga.com/report.php to learn more about how you can use the book to differentiate yourself from your competition and grow your business.
Regarding “Retention”, I gave suggestions in prior blog posts. Review the posts I made on May 23, 2008 and on May 28, 2008. One post is titled “Customer Retention”; the other is titled “How To Create Lifelong Customers”.
As far as branding is concerned, remember that what people think of you and your brand is everything. Don’t ever think that because you are not Coke or Nike that you don’t have a brand. You ARE a brand.
Your brand is not your advertising, your logo, or your product.
Your brand is owned by your customers, the people you work with, and anyone else who has an impression of you. Your brand is other people’s perception of what it is like to do business with you or work with you.
You transfer a customer four times to different departments and they never get their problem solved. That’s your brand.
You put a telephone customer on hold for over a minute. That’s your brand.
A repeat customer for many years comes into your place of business and no one greets them by name. That’s your brand.
I can go on and on.
It takes an on-going commitment on your part, to take your personal brand to the highest level. Brand becomes the way you do everything, almost without thinking.
Remember, it is all about keeping promises and creating great experiences.