This is a guest post from Jenny Spring from Spring into Sales.
When I ask my small business customers to tell me – in two sentences – what they do and what makes them different, they groan. They open their mouths, mumble, look at their feet for inspiration (or possibly a quick escape!), and then apologise because they can’t do it.
How is that we can be so passionate and consumed with our business, but can’t easily tell someone else what we do? After all, it is impossible to market yourself effectively if you can’t articulate this – your unique selling proposition (USP) – clearly.
Your USP is the what you do, the why you do it, and the why someone will buy it from you.
It is why people would brag to their friends that they shop with you and why they come back again and again.
So when I stumbled across this quick and clever ‘Fill-in-the-blanks USP’ from Kevin Rogers (which he coined The Rebel Yell) I knew I was onto a winner.
Kevin had created a fool proof yet simple way to pinpoint a business’ USP. Here it is:
My name is __________________, I love _______________ but was fed up with _______________. So I created ______________ that ___________________________.
Here are some handy rules to follow when you write your Fill-in-the-Blank USP.
- keep it to two sentences
- describe what you have done, rather than what you will do
- keep your product names out of the sentences
- don’t overthink or overcomplicate
- this is the beginning of a conversation, not an end. Make it intriguing in a conversational way
- solve a problem for people
- keep it simple and clear
- think of your very best repeat customer, what words do they use to talk about you
- write it for one person, not a group
Want to see what some of my customers came up with – in about 5 minutes?
My name is Mel, I love getting compliments about how young I look, but was fed up with horrible chemicals in my moisturiser. So I created a natural skincare that feeds my skin with only the purest, chemical free ingredients.
My name is Cynthia. I love cool fashion leggings but was fed up with poorly fitting leggings with baggy knees and tight waists. I hated the boring designs with slapped on clichéd images. So I created my own leggings that ease on like a second skin, stay put when I walk, and have art from the original designers.
My name is Aaron, I love photography but was fed up with boring photos taken in fake studio settings. So I created a walk-and-photo business that teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors and use their camera effectively to take great quality photographs.
My name is LeeAnne, and I love going to the beach with my daughter but was fed up with all the racy or boring bathers that were in the shops. I couldn’t find anything girlie and modest, so I created my own swimwear business for little girls to let them enjoy the beach and love what they are wearing as well.
If you can’t do this, then you are probably over-complicating things. Close your eyes, and picture what your best customer has told you about your business. Why do they love your products and services?
Once you’ve filled in the blanks, say it out loud.
Does it flow? Does it sound different to your competitors? Does it roll off the tongue easily?
Try it out on someone. What is their response? Do they say ‘that sounds interesting, can you tell me more’?
My pet hate is using clichéd and over-used words like ‘unique’, ‘high quality’, ‘handmade’, ‘made by artisans’ … and so on. Open the thesaurus and look for something fresh.
You are not only defining who you are, you are also giving your customers the phrase to use when telling someone about you. You are starting that steady flow of consistent new business to your door.