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What is Your Unique Selling Point?

Does your business have that certain “something” that sets it apart from other businesses and has customers wanting and waiting to purchase your products or services?  I am certain it does, but have you been able to effectively define these unique qualities?

You’re not alone if the answer is no.  With some thoughtful focus on your distinct competitive business traits, you have the opportunity to change the no into a resounding yes!    Over the past 20 years, I’ve had many conversations with manufacturers and retailers in the gift, home and fashion community where I have posed the question: Can you describe your company’s unique selling points?

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To my continued surprise,  many don’t have an answer to this question.  I recognize that for most business owners, this is a difficult answer to come by in an instant, but manufacturers and retailers should either know or carefully consider:

  • What sets me apart?
  • What distinct competitive advantages does my business have going for it?
  • Could I describe my business in one word?

By definition, you are unique.  There is no one with your fingerprint or unique DNA on the planet.  Hence, your organization is unique because no other company has the same products, services or individuals as part of their team.

To help with your unique selling point focus, make a list of all the ways that your business is different from every other alternative.  Plan to use these unique selling points in all of your marketing materials, websites, e-mails, facebook page and tag lines.  Your business is unique,  people need to know the certain “somethin somethin”  that makes it one of a kind.

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Should your products or services be purchased just because you have a storefront, a website or a manufacturing business?  Should your customers purchase from you because you are, for example, the only store in town that has award winning displays, sells over 50 locally made products, provides gift wrapping or is “naturally the best” manufacturing company with the largest collection of natural materials in your products?

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All companies, no matter the size, need to take the time to think and, if necessary, research what it is that pin points their unique business traits. Are you the largest, smallest, most charitable, award winning, best in store music mix, only store offering ladies night specials, only company selling x, producing x, designing x?  Put your business under the microscope, ask and answer the questions of what makes it unique.

Sadly, until you can define your unique selling points, many of your marketing and promotional efforts are wasted.  When you take the time to define your unique selling points, you have your foundation for all of your business descriptions to build your brand – to businesses, to consumers, to your sales and service teams.

This unique selling point is the message that can be used in your business tag line, on printed materials, websites and social media.  Your unique selling point can be simple: Homestyle-“Perfecting the Business of Style” or emotionally descriptive, Simblist-“Representing products we love to live with” or speak to product attributes like Pink House Imports-“Colors women love-Prices retailers adore!” or Beatriz Ball-“Fine Metalware-Made by Hand

A recent conversation with a NYGIF vendor highlighted a clear example of the importance of understanding and using your unique selling points to grow your business.

Richard, a  manufacturer of jewelry products was expressing his frustration with some of his sales reps across the country not selling his product. He stated that he didn’t think his sales reps “got” his product and therefore were not putting forth enough effort to sell his jewelry line to the level of his expectation.  Immediately,  the marketing and sales side of my brain kicked into high gear… “What is your product’s unique selling point?” I asked.  Richard just gave me a puzzled look and did not have an answer to the question.  After a few minutes I noticed a change in his demeanor.  We talked about how essential it is to communicate to your sales team the specifics of what makes your product unique.  Like it or not, there are hundreds of jewelry lines in our industry – what makes yours so special?    The people of your company, both inside and outside,  need to understand this differential in order to effectively market and sell your products.  He soon began nodding his head and said “you are absolutely correct”  he clearly had a breakthrough and understood the importance of the conversation and the changes that needed to be addressed.

You can no longer have a “Field of Dreams” mind set of “build it and they will come” with your business.  You simply must communicate the unique reasons as to why someone should be a customer of your business.  And you must do so by using every possible avenue at your disposal; outside sales teams, customer service, web, print, social media, video.

This is absolutely “must-know” information in order to define a brand, your essential first step in defining who you are and how you want to be perceived.

So what is your unique selling point?


Take some time to consider and respond with a comment.

I will post the best replies on our Facebook and Twitter pages….this could be your first step in discovering and announcing your unique selling point with the added bonus of  free brand advertising for you!

Top 3 Things You Should Do Now to Get Your Marketing Plan Off the Ground!

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  • Schedule the time – Just like a doctor’s appointment, your business marketing will not get started unless you schedule the uninterrupted time to “just do it.” You must make the commitment to get started! Like any other task on your “to do” list, schedule the time on a specific day to commit to marketing.   Benefit:  By scheduling and committing the time you are taking that difficult first step, moving forward and starting your plan!
  • Understand where you are right now – Before you map out where you want your marketing plan to take you, you need to figure out where you are right now. Ask and answer specific questions to drill down into the details:  How is your business positioned in the market? Is this how prospective customers see you? You may even want to ask some of your customers for their feedback. Be as objective as possible, and write four or five paragraphs that summarize your business, including its philosophy, unique selling points, strengths and weaknesses. Don’t worry if it’s not neatly organized – it’s more important to get everything down on paper.  Benefit:  Having details in writing to use as your blueprint as you move forward.
  • Set the goal – Be specific about what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish with this plan. Increase sales? Create a certain perception of your business? Generate more store traffic? The right marketing plan can help.  Here is a great hour by hour guide to get going – “23 Hours to a Marketing Plan.”Benefit:  Having a goal and the details needed to successfully move forward with your marketing plan.

This article is the first in our “Just Do it!” (And get it done!) series.

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