Unique Selling Proposition: 8 Keys To Make Your Business The Clear Choice In Your Market!

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If I woke you up in the middle of the night and asked you:

“What makes your business different and why should I do business with you instead of everyone else in your market?”

Would you be able to give me a direct and compelling answer? Will your answer make me see your business as the ONLY option for me?

Hold that thought.

Entrepreneur magazine defines Unique Selling Proposition (USP) as “the factor or the reason that one product or service is different from and better than the competition.”

In simpler words, your USP is what sets you apart from the competition. It helps in making your prospective clients choose your business above the many available options.

A unique selling proposition (also called unique selling point) is often mistaken with the business slogan. In reality, they are not the same but are often interchangeable. Explaining the difference is a bit beyond the scope of this post’s subject matter, so I’ll just stick with what we need to know to create winning USPs.

So, what is the specific thing that you DO (note that I said DO and not SAY) better than others? Why would anyone choose you over the other available options?

For example,

Why should I buy from store owner A and not store owner B? Why would Konga seem a better option to me than Jumia (and vice versa)?

The answers lie in the core values of your business and especially in how you present this core values to your prospects.

How Important Is Your USP?

Very. Your USP is an integral part of your marketing efforts; you’re going to use it everywhere. It’s going to be on your website. It’s going to be on your business card. It’s going to be in your emails. It’s going to be everywhere because your unique selling proposition tells people why they should do business with you.

Before I go on to discuss the key factors to creating a winning unique selling proposition, check out these examples of outstanding USPs:

Example 1: FedEx – Courier Company.

USP: “ When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

Example 2: Dominos Pizza – Food Company

USP – “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.”

Example 3: Anacin – Pain relief medicine

USP: “Fast, fast, incredibly fast relief.

Example 4:  M&M’s – Chocolate Company

USP:  “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

Example 5: Paystack – Payment Processing Company

USP: Paystack helps Nigerian businesses accept payments from anyone, anywhere in the world.

Do you notice what these examples have in common? All five of them are focused on the customer. They don’t say anything about the businesses, no. Instead, they all address the pain the customer is looking for a solution to.

In the same way, your USP should be benefit-oriented. There’s should be a specific benefit to the end user.

The 8 keys To Creating A Winning USP For Your  Business

1. Clearly Identify Your Target Market

It’s unwise to attempt marketing to everybody. Carefully narrow down your target and hone your USP message to capture the needs of these.

2. Find Out What You Do Better Than Other Business Owners In Your Market.

Now, don’t go telling me nothing. There’s always something –no matter how insignificant it might seem to you – that we do better than our competitors. If you said nothing, then it’s time for some serious brainstorming. Dig deep and discover that thing that your customers want and that you’re great at. Find it and emphasize it.

3. Find Out What Your Targets Hate That You Can Fix

Using emotional triggers effectively is probably one of any marketer’s strong points. Can you fix what your customers hate? More importantly, can you convey that emotion in your USP?

Look no further for an example: M&M’s – “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

4. Key Into Specific Benefits You Bring To Your Target Market

Your prospect isn’t the least bit interested in your “best quality” or “first to be established” claims. He only needs you to make him understand WHY what you offer benefits him. I like the FedEx example above, it clearly tells me WHY I should use them – extra fast delivery when I need it!

It’s very important that you understand that your business’s USP should never be about you or your company. It should always be about the benefit that you bring your customers. Always.

5. Is There An Opportunity Gap?

I love this one! Savvy business owners are always on the lookout for this gap. Odds are many similar businesses have been before yours. What opportunity have they left untapped?

Going back to the Dominoes’ pizza. There were pizzerias before Dominoes. Dominoes keyed in on the gap created – timing. “I am hungry and I need to fill my tummy now.”

6. Make a Big Promise That You Can Actually Fulfill

It’s tempting to go overboard with promises just so you sound great. Please don’t.

Stick with promises that you know you can keep – and then keep them. This is not an absolute must but it helps.

7. Strive For Clarity

Make sure that your USP message is clear. Don’t leave your prospects guessing or trying to figure out your meaning.

A USP such as “Changing the roofs of Africa” does nothing for me the client. I don’t get the message. I’d probably have to dig deep and ask questions before understanding where that USP is coming from.

Your prospects should immediately SEE and UNDERSTAND what doing business with you does for them.

8. Make It Short And Easy To Relay:

I am not asking you to throw up some one-liner sentences that do not convey your meaning. Neither am I asking you to write out a whole lot of sentences.

Your USP is not an advert. It should be short, concise, straight to the point and the meaning must be clear.

If you can’t distill your USP into 1-2 short sentences then you probably should go do some more tweaking.

Now, back to the question I asked earlier:

“What makes your business different and why should I do business with you instead of everyone else in your market?”

As you create your USP today, or as you modify your USP today, always be thinking about the end user – and of course, how all your efforts will be rewarded with better profits for you!

 

Have you had success creating your unique selling proposition? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comment section.

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9 Strategies To Immediately Increase Your Sales

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“If you can’t sell it, nothing else matters. Sales are everything to a business.”

Setting up a business is a lot of hard work. It can be quite frustrating when all the hard work yields little or no results. It’s even worse when you’re operating on a small and possibly borrowed budget. And the pressure to produce results is strong on you.

On paper, your business plan is impeccable but – surprise, surprise – the sales are not just coming in!

What do you do?

Do you lament all day long on government policies (or lack thereof)? Do you complain and blame your “idiotic” customers for not seeing the value your business brings? Or perhaps claim the black magic from your village has finally caught up with you (don’t be surprised that a lot of people think this way!)?

I once invested all my life savings and even borrowed from a friend to start a business. I could have sworn that I had everything all planned out. Things got so bad that I was stuck with wares that I couldn’t sell, a nagging friend (within her rights, of course), bills increasing and seriously depleted self-confidence!

It was a sour experience. But the beautiful part of the story is that I learnt from it.

 So, What Do You Do To Increase Sales?

There’s no static or carved-in-stone formula for increasing sales. Usually, a combination of simple strategies have helped me double and even tripled my sales.

1.  Sell To Customer Needs

It’s so tempting to try selling our customers on what we “think” they need. Never assume you know better than the paying customer. Listen to your market and provide only what the market needs.

Sometimes, you might be tempted to want to offer a “better” solution, but always remember that your ego has no monetary value, so drop your so-called superior knowledge of the market! Listen closely and sell only what the market needs – period!

2.  Sell Only Benefits

“Established since 1908 by Europe’s renowned cosmetic company, blending the finest ingredients bla bla and more bla” – who cares about all that?

While it’s good for you to know your history, the paying customer only cares about the SOLUTION your business directly brings to him.”AAA cream clears your stretch marks and gives you baby smooth skin in 7 days” – now this is a customer-focused benefit that will drive more sales.

3.  Sell A BIG Guarantee

“Satisfaction guaranteed!”, “100% money-back guarantee”, “Get a full refund and keep the item – no questions asked guarantee”, etc.

This strategy of issuing guarantees has long been in use and is probably overused, but, offering a big guarantee sets you apart from the competition. Your prospects will think that if “If you are this confident in what you sell, then your business is worth a try”.

The idea is to give your customers a risk-free situation.

In reality, most buyers will buy but not take you up on the return-for-refund guarantee. The caveat is, for the very few that do take you up on it, be sure to honour your guarantee claims. The increase in sales you made should more than compensate for the few refund-me-clients. If you offer top-notch products and/or services, you shouldn’t have a problem with this.

4.  Sell Something “FREE”

You’ve probably made a decision to buy something NOW that you would have left for LATER only because it’s accompanied with something FREE. You’re not alone. Buy 1, get 1 free; FREE sample; FREE download; FREE shipping etc.

Amazon and many eCommerce stores tactfully use this method to increase sales – buy more to be eligible for free shipping. In one of my businesses online, sales increased dramatically when I went from paid shipping to free shipping nationwide. In reality, I’d cleverly worked in a fine percentage of the shipping costs into the product price, but surprisingly, no one cared about that; all that seemed to matter was the FREE shipping.

Russell Brunson gave away his book DOTCOM SECRETS for free; all you had to do was pay for the shipping. This singular strategy brought him untold millions of dollars in the backend product he introduced in the “free” book and probably a couple more millions in his site membership. FREE sells; cleverly craft it into your sales and experience the magic!

5.  Sell Combo Products/Services

Instead of offering discounts on solo products and trying hard to get customers to buy, combine related products/services and offer a discount on both items only when purchased together. The logic behind how this works is simple: prospect came in to buy X with a view to buy Y at a later time (considering how fleeting human interests are, purchase Y might never happen!). If there’s no discount on X but there’s considerable discount on X and Y together, most people will dig deeper into their pockets to purchase X and Y and make the safe. It’s simple psychology.

6.  Offer Immediate Upsells

The most common example that comes to mind here is the MacDonald’s “Do you want fries with that?” How this works is simple: A customer purchased an item usually at full price, and at the point of checkout, you offer him another product or service that highly complements his purchase at a tempting discount. Odds are that your customer will immediately see the benefits of your new offer and the discount and decide to include it in his purchase. Great deal for him; additional sales that otherwise wouldn’t have happened for you. Everyone is happy!

The next time you order pizza, notice how the person taking your order tries to upsell you on as many extras as possible – extra topping, cheesy crust, mushroom – it’s just business as usual!

7.  Sell Urgency

You’ve seen this before. A company advertises that it’s giving 20% off retail price with only 50 pieces of stock left. What happens? A frenzy to purchase before stock is exhausted of course!

A typical example is Black Friday sales. Yours might not be that dramatic and you don’t have to wait for Black Friday to use this strategy. Yours could be a simple but needed service that you are offering to a limited few.  It could be a limited edition of a desirable product. Limited seats available. It could be a limited free assessment.

You could even sell urgency by creating fear of loss or irreversible damage if client doesn’t take action immediately for example: Maxgro baldness and hair regrowth treatment creates urgency by letting prospects know that “delay in hair loss treatment might lead to permanent and irreversible hair loss.”

Whatever your urgency selling point is, it is no use if no one knows about it. So publicize and let your targets know about it.

8.  Sell Evidence

How we are so swayed by before and after pictures! Nothing sells a product or service as fast as evidence of use, nothing!

Do you have proof that your product or service works? Sell it! Why else do you think the likes of Orange Drugs Pharmaceuticals display very smooth skinned and pretty girls in their calendar adverts?

Admittedly, not all products/services conveniently fall into the before and after category, but you can still find a way to show evidence. Are you into interior decoration? Take professional pictures. What about using videos where applicable? Simple pictures of smiling clients using your product/service are often enough. Heck, you can even sell items as simple as pencils with pictures of really cute kids writing happily with your pencil brand!

Testimonials are also a great way of selling evidence.

9.  Takeaway Selling

Dan Kennedy – famous marketing expert and author – talks a lot about takeaway selling. In his words:

“The less accessible something is, the greater the value that gets placed on it and the more people want it”.

In my own very simple words, find a way to create exclusivity in the minds of your prospects and you will create a frenzy of sales!

If you’ve read a bit about me, then you would know that I started marketing and selling as a young teenager.

Long before I ever read about Dan Kennedy, I would use a version of this strategy in my own way to drive sales in my parents’ business.

I particularly liked it when rich and snooty customers would walk into the shop with their noses up in the air (If you’ve had any encounter with this kind of people, you would know how they look around as though nothing on display is good enough for them and that they were only doing you a favour!).

I would laugh inwardly at their snobbish display because I knew that I was about to at least quadruple my profits!

I perfected the strategy of showing them items that are likely to catch their attention. I would then stop at 1 or 2 “exclusive” items and ever so subtly imply (not in exact words, though) that these were very expensive and probably not within their reach. My next step would be to appear to eagerly walk them away from the “exclusive” items to ones more within their reach.

Oh my! Either of two things would happen: Outright indignation at my audacity or acute display of interest in the exclusive items. Cut a long story short, I always ended up with a satisfied customer, leaving the store with several stuffed shopping bags and more importantly, repeat customers! ALWAYS!

Done right, takeaway selling could actually be any salesperson’s greatest skill.

I will write another post shortly solely on takeaway selling and how you can use it to maximize profits. Sign up below for my newsletter so you don’t miss it!

I have used these sales strategies with a lot of success in my businesses and those of my clients. Don’t even for a second think it doesn’t apply to your kind of business – find ways to tweak and adapt any of these to suit your business.

Hey, do you have questions on how best to use these sales strategies in your business? Leave me your comments and we’ll sort it out together.

Rooting for your success;

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5 Reasons Every Small Business Needs A Website

Every business no matter the size or the business category it belongs to needs a website. Times are far gone when you rely solely on your brick and mortar store. It probably worked well for your business in the past but without a website in today’s ever so advanced world where consumers rely heavily on the internet to gather information about a company, including product reviews – it probably won’t.

Today, people often turn to the Internet first to research businesses and products. Building a website not only helps small businesses promote and sell their products and services, it allows them to put their best foot forward to consumers.

I have listed below why having a website for your business is no longer just a luxury but an absolute necessity.

 

1. Be Found

It comes as no surprise that many consumers begin their purchasing decisions by searching for products and services online. Today, customers are constantly using and searching with computers, tablets and smartphones. A website lets customers find and learn about your business 24/7.

A website offers other benefits too.

It allows small businesses to reach a bigger audience outside of their local area without a huge increase in marketing expenses. And it’s not just about attracting new customers. Business owners use websites to better serve existing customers by providing important business information and services on their site which they can access anytime and anywhere.

Some businesses use social media or online directories in lieu of a website to promote their business. This is an easy way to quickly create an online presence. However, research by experts has shown that when looking for information about a business, people would trust a business’s website over a social media page or an online directory.

A website offer many more advantages, such as increased flexibility, control, branding and credibility,  While it’s good to own social media pages for your business, it’s absolutely important that you create a functional website that stands in as your salesman all round the clock.

 

2.Build Credibility

A website lends credibility to the legitimacy of a small business. According to a recent survey, consumers believe a business with a website is more credible than one with only a social media page. Although as a small business owner you can build a brand presence on social media, but you will be limited by its platform in terms of design, process and technology.

Having your own website gives your small business the ability to control every aspect of their brand with no restrictions on how to market your products or services. This contributes to your brand’s overall reputation and market standing.

If as a small business owner you want to be credible and attract new customers, a website can make a difference.

One important decision in creating your website is choosing the right domain name (or Web address), so you should take careful consideration when making your choice.

First, you need to decide which domain extension, such as .com and .net, best serves your company (I’ll recommend that you stick with a .com extension where possible). And second, select a name that is memorable, descriptive, keyword-rich (e.g. words Internet users might enter into a search engine to look for a business such as yours) and isn’t trademarked by another company.

Ensure to use a domain name for email. Survey found that 65% of consumers believe a company-branded email is more credible than a business using a free email account. Company-branded email (e.g., info@yourdomainname.com), lends further credibility when communicating with prospective customers. Your branded email also offers the benefit of using multiple email addresses for different areas of a business (e.g., info@yourdomainname.com, support@yourdomainname.com, staffname@yourdomainname.com), which further propels an established, professional image.

 

3.Get More Customers

Who wants more customers? All businesses do! The top priority for most small businesses is finding new customers, and in today’s competitive marketplace, having an online presence is key. This means that if someone is looking for a product or services your business offers, your website needs to show up in search results or you will miss out on potential sales leads.

A website is a great way to find new customers. It helps you to strengthen relationships with your loyal retail customers and attracts online customers who had never stepped foot into your physical store

Ongoing business success rests in large part on a company’s ability to bring in new clients. Using traditional marketing methods like print advertising to reach a large audience can be expensive and unreliable, but getting online enables small businesses to reach more people while paying less for the exposure—and with measurable results.

 

4.Grow Your Business

A website is a cost-effective tool to expand any business locally, nationally and globally.

A website can help small businesses broaden their customer base outside of their city limits.

While face-to-face interactions are important and business may come via word-of-mouth, a website provides a company a chance to “pass their card out” to thousands of new potential customers outside their normal vicinity, which then leads to a larger service area and possible expansion of regional offices.

A step further is having an e-commerce website which allows businesses to sell products to customers around the world.

 

5.Gain Competitive Advantage

A current trend among consumers is to conduct research online before they buy. 93% of consumers use the Internet for research before making a purchase.

Consumers want to be informed prior to making purchasing decisions, from what they buy to whom they buy from. So if your company doesn’t have a website, it risks losing customers to businesses who are already taking advantage of the online marketplace.

More than half of Nigerian-based small businesses don’t have a website, so there’s no time like the present to establish or improve your business website and get ahead of the competition.

If you want to be taken seriously in any competitive client-based industry, you can’t create opportunities for prospects to question your commitments or professionalism. A strong first impression is critical for opening up your business and a website is often the first place clients look.

If your small business is in direct competition with another business that has a website, it’s critically important to make sure your business has one, especially if your competitor is effectively marketing its website. Having your own website helps level the playing field

 

CONCLUSION

Relying solely on a physical store or traditional marketing efforts limits the success of any business. In this digital age, consumers increasingly rely on the Internet, and expect businesses to have an online presence.

Whether you’re concerned about establishing credibility, growing your business, gaining a competitive advantage or wanting to be found online, the bottom line is a website goes a long way.

There’s no doubt that registering a domain name and establishing a website offer a number of different business advantages, and are easier now to do. So get started now.