Unique Sales Proposition and Guarantee

What is a Unique Sales Proposition and Guarantee (USP&G)? It’s a persuasive proposition that removes risk and compels your ideal customers to do business with you, instead of your competitors, because you’re different than all the rest.

Why is the USP&G important? The USP&G is basically a conversion rate strategy, and it’s actually the best thing you can do to improve your conversion rates from lead to customer. It will help you identify exactly what makes you different from your competitors and articulate this difference in a compelling and powerful way.

What is the difference between your Unique Sales Proposition and your Value Proposition? For some reason a lot of online resources suggest these are the same thing but they are, in fact, very different. In very simple terms, the USP is brand level and the Value Proposition is product or service specific. Going a bit deeper, you can have multiple Value Propositions for each product or service depending on how many decision makers you might need to address in the sales process. If you have multiple offerings, you will have a single USP and many Value Propositions.

The best way to understand the USP&G is to consider the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. This theory seeks to explain how new ideas and technologies spread and identifies 5 different stages and types of buyers.

1.    Innovators. Whenever a new technology or a new idea comes to market, a very small group of innovators, just 2.5% of the population will take it on, try out the technology or implement the idea. As time goes on, the innovators endure the process of working out the bugs and helping the R&D Departments of the first few companies in the market.

2.    Early Adopters. As the bugs get worked out, the early adopters begin jumping in, about 13.5%.

3.    Early Majority. The early majority represents about 34%. The early majority is the lionshare of the population who will jump in if it's a new and cool thing that’s been proven and there’s a good word on the street about it.

4.    Late Majority. The late majority is about the same size as the Early Majority at about 34%.

5.    Laggards. These are the ones who wait around and ignore new things until it becomes almost impossible to avoid them, the last 16%.

Where do you want to be if you want to make the most profit? Of course, it is on the left side of the curve. The more left side you are, typically the fewer competitors you have and the higher price you can command. One note of caution; selling only to Innovators may not result in large profits as R&D costs can be extremely high and volumes are quite low.

The most often discussed example is for cellular phones. Innovators had car, bag and what we called brick phones (I had all 3 starting in 1990), Early Adopters had phones from Nokia and Motorola, the Early Majority had flip phones, Late Adopters had Blackberries and the Laggards had their choice.

To take it to the next level, the cell phone industry went through a second wave initiated by Steve Jobs with the introduction of the iPhone. Elon Musk did the same thing to the car industry with the Telsa electric car.

Where is your business on the Diffusion of Innovation curve, where do you want to be, and how are you going to get there? There are a couple of ways that can be done.

  1. You can identify if your product or service lines are on the left side of the curve, then really focus on those things, blow those out by really marketing and advertising those things heavily!
  2. You can take a product or service line that’s on the right side of curve and just innovate and reinvent the thing so that it puts it back on the left side of curve effectively.

There are a lot of examples of companies that have innovated and re-tooled some of their existing products and services to get them back on the left side of the curve, and you can read about that in the book called Blue Ocean Strategy. The book is all about how to innovate your product or service and get back on the left side of the curve. The basic premise of the book is that you want to avoid competing in existing market space which is a bloody mess and instead create an uncontested market space through innovation. They have some amazing case studies in that book, so I highly recommend you check it out.

Now, the main thing to understand about the early adopter phase is that there's really one preeminent skillset that business owners must learn and master, one really paramount skill in dominating a specific niche or a subsection of a niche in that early adopter part of curve. That skill is educating the market on your Unique Selling Proposition and Guarantee. That’s the goal--educate your market on your USP&G. By the time the product or service gets to the early or late majority, everybody knows what it is, why it works and why they need it. Everybody's friend has one. There's really no education required but, again, because there is no education required there's not as much money to make unless you’re the first, second or third company in and have a commanding market share. It’s kind of a double-edged sword: there's great opportunity in the early adopter stage of any product or service life cycle, but there's a much greater skillset required in educating your target market. Communicating a Unique Selling Proposition and Guarantee is just not well understood.

Here are the steps you should follow to create and communicate your USP&G.

  1. Read the book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
  2. Solicit testimonials from at least 5 clients using the USP Testimonial System. This is a step-by-step guide details how to get a testimonial back from a client.
  3. Draft your USP&G using the USP Worksheet. It takes you through 12 questions designed to get you to think about what to say and how to say it in your USP&G.
  4. Create your marketing message that will serve as the foundation for all marketing, advertising, and sales collateral by completing the USP Content Template.

As an example, here is my USP&G: 

I am an experienced senior Army Officer and Business Executive with outstanding Planning, Sales and Marketing and Leadership and Team building skills. I help small business owners achieve the profit, freedom and lifestyle they dreamed of having when they started their business. Investment presumes there will be a return. Coaching will pay off over the long term - and I guarantee results using what I call a 'Find your Fee' model. Assuming we are a good fit and you keep up with your end of the agreement, my guarantee is that after 4 months of coaching, you will earned my fee over and above what you are earning now or I will continue working with you at no cost until we achieve that milestone or for 4 months, whichever comes first. No ifs, no ands and definitely no buts.

Here are the 5 key questions you should get answered before choosing your business coach. Can or does the Coach,

  1. Clearly demonstrate how to help you double your net profits within a year or less?
  2. Work with a proven framework that has helped thousands of other business owners like you?
  3. Offer program options to fit your budget and needs or work with a 'one size fits all take it or leave it' approach?
  4. Have a business background and experience that instills confidence?
  5. Offer a guarantee?

If you would like some help with this or would like the templates to create your own USP&G send me an email or schedule a short call to see if it makes sense for you.