Business First May-June 2017 Business First May 2017 - Page 44

BEST PRACTICE Put your USP in the elevator and send it to the basement… T Ian Laverty, Managing Director, Ingenuity here’s a reason why you struggle to convince with your USP – it most likely doesn’t exist! The concept of the Unique Selling Point (USP) is believed to originate in the US as far back as 1940. That’s over 77 years ago, and yet the concept continues to survive and to this day it is still promoted by marketing departments, academic institutions and bad sales trainers. It’s an outdated concept. Back in the 1940s new product and service development was considerably slower, so when you brought out your new product you were probably one of a small number of companies able to offer it (at least locally in times before easy travel and the world wide web). Today, with the pace of change of innovation and development that no longer stands true. It’s nothing more than a piece of lazy terminology and by continuing to use it you’re letting complacency creep into your sales practice. Let’s break it down. Unique. Selling. Point. To be ‘unique’ it must be truly that. The reality is however there is little or nothing that you do that cannot be duplicated, replicated or substituted by somebody else. It’s like all the newspapers on the news stand this morning that carry that ‘exclusive’ story. Many of them carry the same ‘exclusive’…. which by its very definition is not an exclusive. Of course, I usually hear ‘but our people our unique’. Everybody’s people are unique. To be a USP, anything that you do that you consider to be ‘unique’ also has to be a ‘selling point’. In other words, it has to be a compelling reason why someone would buy the products or services that you offer. A compelling reason – one that makes up their mind and prompts them to take an action. Not simply a nice to have but a must have – if possible they should have a need for it. It’s much better to think of those things that make you or your product or service offering ‘different and better’. If you discuss your USPs and the prospect recognises that someone else also offers the same USP then you lose credibility instantly. You will almost always have a credible argument that you offer something different than your competitors and a better offering at that. I have discussed this in hundreds of training workshops to over a thousand sales and marketing professionals and challenged each of them to give me a genuinely unique selling point. In all my days I have had only one response where I have had to concede 42 defeat. The oldest pub in Ireland. There can be only one oldest pub (it is therefore unique) and it is indeed a reason why people travel to drink in it (it is therefore a selling point). Every other pub in Ireland has to offer something different and/or better. To do this you have to understand the criteria on which you prospect is going to make their buying decision. When you understand that then you have a focus for your ‘different and better’ pitch ­ sometimes referred to as a 'positioning statement' (more buzz lingo!). You must demonstrate that you meet their buying criteria in a way that is both different and better than your comp ѥѽ́Ё)ɥѡЁɕɕ͕́مՔȁѡѽȸ)eԁɝЁȁمѽȁэѽ])݅́ѼѕѼ́ͅͽȀ)͕́ѕѡ܁ѡȁɽՍ)ȁ͕٥)ՍݥѠѡӊeȁͥѥ)хѕЁ͡ձՍɔɕձ)ɅѕѡѡЁ͡ձхɕѼ)ٕͅѥɅѡȁѡхɐ)ɽՍѥЁ܁ɕЁԁɔ)'éͅɅȸ'eٕٔȁ͕)مѽȁэͬݡЁݔ'eѕ)ԁѡЁݔaԁѼ͕ɔՙdQ)ѕ́ԁ́Ս́مѽȁэ)ٕѡѕѥ䁹ѡL)͔ӊéЁɕمЁѼԁȁ)ɝͅѥЁ$ٕeЁЁԁ)͕́aЁd)QӊéѡɽݥѠѡمѽȁэ)ɕم1ӊéɸѡٕͅѥɽչ)'eͬѡՕѥ́ѕѥ)ѡݕ ɕ͕э]Ёԁ͕)]ɔȁѽ!܁ԁ)ѡ!܁ѡ䁙!܁ѡ)䁙ɽ]Ё́ԁɕЁ)ѕȁѡȁѥѽ!܁)Ʌє!܁ԁɗ ݥѠ)ѥѽ)QӊéЁ͵ٽȁѡɕѥ)ѡٕͅѥݔЁٔձ)٥ѡЁٕͅѥ$܁܁)ȁɽՍ́ȁ͕٥́ЁԸ)%ЁͼɅѕ́ѡЁ'eѕɕѕ԰)Ё%׊eٔݕɕѡѱ)ѡ׊eٔͼѽݡЁԁ5)ٕ́ͅͅѥݥ܁ɵ)ɕمЁ$ЁЁɽ́ɽɱ)%ЁݽeЁչՔLЁЁݥ)ɕمЁѼԁѡӊéɔхи)eЁݽ䁅Ёȁمѽȁэ)́ݡЁ́ԁɕЁѕ)ѡͽѥѡЁѡ)Օѥ́ԁѼͬѽ́Ѽ)ѡɽ٥ԁݥѠѡɵѥ)ݡɕѡɕ͔ѡЁ)ɽՍн͕٥́ѡݕȁѼѡȁ̸)QЁɔ٥ͥ)ե乵