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Your USP… It Can Be the Difference Between Success and Failure

May 24 2010

businesscompetitionToday’s prospects are more discerning than ever.  Gone are the easy days in which a prospect would list their home with just about any agent.  Now, you actually have to work for a listing.  In this market, consumers are not just looking for real estate agents, they’re seeking out real estate experts.

Let’s say that you are an expert, or at least an expert relative to your local competitors.  So, how then do consumers KNOW that you’re their best choice?  The better question is how do you get their attention long enough to even have a chance to educate them about what you can do for them?

According to most studies, you have only 3-7 seconds to hook your prospect’s attention.  And one of the best ways to do that is to have a compelling Unique Selling Proposition, “USP” for short.

A USP is a way of explaining your position against your competition to your potential
clients.  In the 1960s,  marketing icon, Rosser Reeves, created the idea of the USP to combat the “product puffery” that was running rampant. He advocated less “window dressing” of a product/service and, instead, advocated focus on the specific and unique benefits that the product/service would bring to the consumer.

40-some-odd years later, Rosser Reeves had no way of knowing that his revolutionary ideas would be even MORE important today than in the ‘60s…especially in this market.

So, what makes a good USP?

A good USP clearly and quickly explains the chief benefit that the customer can expect to receive when choosing your particular product/service.  See if you can recognize these companies by just their USP:

  • Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed
  • When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight
  • The nighttime, coughing, achy, sniffling, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine.

If you answered, Domino’s, FedEx and Nyquil, then you can see the power of a great USP.
 
How do YOU create an effective USP?  When I’m doing a marketing makeover for a client, I always make sure the USP we create for them meets the at least 4 basic criteria…

The 4 Criteria For An Effective USP

1. The USP is specific and simple.

Thirty minutes to your door. Guaranteed. Dominoes chose one powerful need that they could fill in the marketplace for delivery pizza services. They were not afraid to possibly alienate other target markets. Gourmet pizza lovers might not be compelled by Dominoes’ USP, but that’s ok…Dominoes still owns most of the marketshare in the pizza business.

2. The USP identifies the needs of their specific target market(s).

FedEx didn’t mention that they also have ground shipping, bulk rates and international courier options. They created the most compelling message that was the most needed to their marketplace at the time. Notice also that their target market was not people looking for the lowest price or for the most convenient location. They targeted the people (usually business owners) that were frantic to get their important shipments delivered on time for any price.


3. The USP directly addresses a benefit-oriented solution to a need in the marketplace.

There is no product hyping or window dressing in these USPs. Dominoes doesn’t claim that their pizza will be the most delicious pizza, only that it will be fresh, hot and at your door in 30 minutes or less. Likewise, FedEx makes no mention of convenience, availability or low cost. It simply suggests that it is the safest choice when you really need to send a package overnight.

4. The USP is unique.

At least at the time that it was introduced it was unique.

When you are successful, you may have a copycat come along and reduce the impact of your original marketing message. Ideally, you will have enough momentum going to stay on top of your market, but you will eventually have to continue to create and refine your USP and marketing message. The good news is that you will be a trained marketer, while your competition will be shooting in the dark. You will be “often imitated, but never equaled!”

Do you have a USP that can quickly differentiate yourself from your competition?

If you can’t quickly tell me why I should do business with you over other agents in your area, then why should I take the time to sit through your listing presentation?

With a good USP, your chances of getting in front of a potential client to educate them why YOU are their best choice increases dramatically.


Other articles of interest: dsSearchAgent IDX | Top Producer IDX