Every business needs one if they want to survive. In this article I will be discussing what a USP is and why you need one and I will answer the following 4 questions:
- What Does USP stand for?
- What is a USP?
- Why Do I Need a USP?
- How can I create the best USP for my business?
What Does USP stand for?
USP stands for Unique Selling Point .
What is a USP? And Why Do I Need one?
A USP is what makes you stand out from the crowd. Most service firms will claim that they offer a great product. What’s going to make you different to the others? The reality is, if you have nothing unique to offer you will be competing solely on price – this is the worst position to be in.
It may work in other industries, like discounted retailers (Aldi, Lidl) who sell products cheap but in huge quantities, but it’s not an effective strategy in the construction industry.
Competing on price may get you through the early days of a start-up, when overheads are low, but as you start to expand you will require staff, offices, equipment, computers, etc. When overheads increase significantly you will find that your prices have to rise just to stay afloat.
The problem is, your clients will not care about your overheads. When they are given a price for a service, if someone else is delivering the same product at a cheaper price then you can almost guarantee you’ve lost that sale.
It’s imperative that you stand out, but that’s easier said than done. Construction is a crowded industry and unless you’re offering a unique, specialist product that the average Joe isn’t, standing out will be a challenge.
But you can still stand out, even if you do not have a unique product.
Let’s take Apple as an example.
They can sell a mobile phone for upwards of £1,000 when their rival Nokia can only charge £350 for their most expensive phone, which has many similar features.
Even though Apple’s product is triple the price, they will outsell Nokia time and time again and are hugely profitable.
Why? It’s not that they have a unique product, as the Nokia phone is almost the same. Apple has developed a way to stand head and shoulders above the competition. They have managed to develop branding and a reputation that makes it cool to be seen with an Apple phone. They also offer an exceptional service in their stores, providing a unique experience that helps drive sales and inspire customer loyalty.
Your construction company is nothing like Apple, though, so why mention it? The point is, you don’t have to be selling completely unique products to stand out from the crowd, and just because you are in a crowded marketplace, you still need to avoid being reliant on competing on price only.
You’ll notice that companies all around you struggle with USP, as they all seem to offer the same benefits. Some of the generic USPs you can find in the service industry include:
- ‘Good quality and low prices’
- ‘Affordable quality since 1990’
- ‘Service with a smile’
- ‘Satisfaction guaranteed’
- ‘You’ve tried the rest, now try the best’ These are just taglines and certainly not unique, so don’t deserve to be called USPs. Phrases like this are commonplace in the market and are not going to differentiate you in any way, shape or form.
How Can I Create the Best USP For My Business?
One of the first things you need to focus on is your offer. What is the service or product you are offering to your clients, and, more importantly, why is it better than others? Are you able to articulate that? Can you pitch your product and explain why someone should use you in a confident and convincing way? If you want to see significant and sustained growth then exceptional service must become a core value within your business. It must be the number one priority for you and your staff, and it needs to be constantly reaffirmed. Without exceptional service, your company will be propped up by expensive marketing efforts, cheaper price points and new business only, which leaves you with low profitability.
The easiest way to make profit is to sell again to existing clients and those to whom you have been recommended, but the only way you’ll achieve this consistently is if you’re offering a great service. But there is more to it than that. To offer something exceptional, it must be unique.
You need to stand out from others – let’s find out how to do that. It is possible to stand out, but it involves finding your USP (unique selling proposition/point).
What if you don’t have a USP?
You need to find one, and fast.
It’s not always easy to find your USP, but as we mentioned above it’s essential to stop you competing on price, a position you do not want to be in. It needs Exceptional Service to be good enough to differentiate you. You need to be able to deliver on it. You want to ensure it will make your clients choose you over the rest.
One of the first things needed is to understand who your client is, who you are selling to. What are their problems, fears and needs? You will attract the types of clients you focus on, so if you don’t like your current crop of clients, maybe it’s time to focus on selling to the ones you do want (provided you can deliver effectively to them).
Going forward, design your marketing strategy to attract only your ideal clients. Do the following as an exercise. First, start by writing down who your ideal client is. Be as detailed as you can. Create an avatar of that person. Ask questions like:
- What’s their age?
- Where do they live?
- How much do they earn?
- Are they single or married?
- Do they have children?
- What are their interests?
- What magazines do they read?
- What Facebook groups will they visit?
Once you’ve worked out who that individual is, start thinking about how they think and feel:
- What are their wants?
- What are their needs?
- What are their worries?
- What problems do they have that need solving?
- What are they frustrated with in your industry?
Once you start building up this picture it can help you formulate what your USP needs to be to appeal to and reach this individual. Try to be as specific as you can and don’t fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people. You will have more success focusing on a specific or niche market.
Next, think about what your company does or can do that might be different to your competitors.
- What are your strengths and company values?
- Are you faster than others?
- Do you offer better quality?
- Have you been established a long time?
Let’s take an example below:
The AA (Automobile Association): ‘To our members, we’re the fourth emergency service.’
This USP again talks to customers’ fears. For someone vulnerable, it would be a nightmare for their car to break down on the side of a motorway. The AA reassures them that they will come to save them like a knight in shining armour.
Even after working through the above steps, it can take some time to settle on something that fits. For assistance, why not ask previous clients what they thought was great about you? What were they worried about before they purchased your product or service? It’s a great way of getting into the mind of your ideal client – just ask them directly. Once you find your USP it will be liberating and give you direction and clarity on how to move forward. Now you need to let everyone know what your USP is. I will discuss this in future articles or you can purchase my book by clicking here
The construction industry is tough at the moment, but you CAN not only survive it but thrive in it.
Watch my case study of how I created two £1million + construction businesses