You’ve probably heard of a “unique selling proposition” (USP) and perhaps ignored it thinking it was something your “marketing” had under control, or perhaps you’ve worked on one and believe you have one.
For me, a USP is like an arrowhead. Without an arrowhead, an arrow will not fly true nor will it penetrate its target. This is like selling with features and functions, and not leading with a unique benefit to the buyer. Your sales message may fly, but it’s chance of penetrating your buyer is low.
Have you ever had a sales cycle that dragged on and on? Have you ever had your sales and marketing teams disagree about your product? Have you ever had to discount your price because you struggled to communicate your product’s real value? If so, then maybe you don’t have a clear and effective USP, or ArrowHead, as I like to call it.
Some well-known USPs would include:
- Head & Shoulders (shampoo): “You get rid of dandruff”
- Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free.”
- FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”
- M&M’s (candy): “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”
I’ll never forget a work session I did with a group from all over the world, where I
would present them with a list of internationally known products, then ask them to
tell me the USP for that product. Each person, one at a time, came to the front of the
room, and unveiled a product name that was covered with post-it notes on the
flipchart, and they were asked to give the USP on the spot. One participant, a man,
unveiled the product “Victoria’s Secret” then without skipping a beat said, “the gift
that keeps on giving.”
There are five reasons why you should have a USP or ArrowHead for your product or service, but first let me share with you my company’s ArrowHead:
As you can see, an ArrowHead has one unique benefit as its point, which is supported by 3 other unique benefits as blades. Now, why is a ArrowHead so important to you, your company and your product? Let me give you five reasons:
- Answers the question, “Why should I buy YOUR product?” – Don’t make your buyer think about why they should buy your product. Make it easy for them. Don’t beat around the bush; tell then exactly what your product will do for them, and how it is different from all their other alternatives (your competitors).
- Everyone sings from the same songbook – Nothing is more confusing to a potential buyer than to hear different promises from different people at the same company. An ArrowHead gives your team a shared purpose and common flag to march under; it is a common chorus that your team can harmonize to.
- Speeds the buying decision – When you force your buyer into an “intellectual exercise” about how your product can help them, it slows down and sometimes stops the buying decision. An ArrowHead empowers them to quickly evaluate your product.
- Reduces the “tire kickers” – Without an effective ArrowHead you may be marketing to the wrong buyers, wasting your time and theirs. Increase your closing rate with a clear ArrowHead that helps buyers know that your product will help them.
- Gives Purpose & Passion to your sales force – Sales people that know exactly what their product can do (and not do) have laser-focus and confidence in their product. This translates into success with your buyer.
Your ArrowHead does not need to be a catchy tagline or a long mission statement. In fact, it’s best if you can deliver your unique selling proposition in 10-15 seconds. A single idea may be all that you need, as long as it gives sufficient promise to your buyer, shows your uniqueness, and is strong and credible. You will be most successful if your leadership team helps create your ArrowHead so that they own it.
Create a winning ArrowHead, align your team around it, and then learn how to deliver it with passion (not a sterile PowerPoint). An ArrowHead can be a sharp message in your quiver that will create purpose, passion and power in your marketing, sales, business and life.
For more info on the ArrowHead, check out the book, “The ArrowHead: Winning the Story War” available on Amazon.