Does your small business have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? Do you understand why customers buy from you and not the competition? If you want to maximise your sales you need to know your USP!

The marketing concept of the Unique Selling Proposition has been around since the 1940’s when it was recognised that TV adverts which made unique claims of their products were more successful. These days the phrase is applied to other areas of business to mean a differentiation from similar alternatives.

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the reason that you give for why people should buy from you and not from the others.

A Difference

The USP has to be an explicit improvement on what your competitor is offering – better quality, lower price, quicker delivery etc. The bigger the difference appears to the customer the more successful the USP will be.

A Promise

The USP is a promise to the customer that creates an expectation that you must fulfil. Do not over promise and under deliver!

An Advantage

The USP is a competitive advantage that you have over the competition. The right USP can help you to win market share.

It is also an advantage that you might need to defend. Over time the value of your USP can be eroded as competitors make their services more like yours. If this happens you will have to decide whether to identify a new USP or whether to invest in order to defend your position.

A Benefit

The USP must be a benefit that the customer recognises rather than a feature that they do not need. It should either be a solution to a problem the customer has or it should add value that they can enjoy.

What is your Unique Selling Proposition?

You can start to develop your USP by understanding what differences between your product and the competition your customers already appreciate. This could be in a number of different areas.

  • the product or service
  • the price or quality
  • how,where and when it is delivered
  • the customer relationship and support
  • follow-on services
  • your knowledge or experience
  • how the product makes them feel etc

Don’t assume that you know what the customer values – find out. Either pay for market research or do some of your own, review your customer feedback and spend time listening to your customers. If you are not directly in touch with your customers talk to the people who are.


The Unique Selling Proposition is a concept that has been around a long time because it gets to the heart of what the customer wants. By understanding the USP for your business you can start to sell more successfully, grow your market share and set your business free.

© Business Set Free Ltd 2013


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