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Your USP - It's not about how smart you are, it's about how much your target wants it.

How you define and articulate your differentiation is imperative in building, or rebuilding, your business.  The most important part of this articulation is writing this in your customer’s, or prospective customer’s words.  Why does a customer want your product or service?  Why do they need it?  How are you different from the multitude of competitive options out there?  This is where your product (or service) features and benefits come to light.  This is called your value proposition or unique selling proposition (USP).

Imagine for a moment, that you are in an elevator with a prospective customer and they ask what you do.  In 30-seconds or less, can you whet their appetite?  Can you make them want to stay on the elevator to ask you more questions about your product or service?  That is your goal in writing your USP.  This is the one opportunity you have to introduce all of your spectacular design, product features and benefits to your prospective customer.  But again, in their language.

Have you been in a conversation with someone that has tremendous passion for something you know nothing about?  If you tell someone they have a nice car, but you yourself, know nothing about cars, does the conversation get quickly uncomfortable when they tell you about why the single clutch transmission is far superior to the dual clutch in most cars?  It sure does, and you explaining your product, in your language, is no different.  This is not dissimilar to a Web3 founder explaining their product to me. They lost me at Web3.

Businesses need to change how they talk about their product to consumers. Start small and work your prospect up the educational ladder.  What issue are you solving or what benefit are you providing spoken in a way that is conversational on the customer’s terms.

Who is the person you are selling to?  If they are a technology company CEO, you should speak in language that is relevant to them.   You will be using technology industry verbiage that is common to the target and explaining your features and benefits in a way that matters to them.  If your target is a medical professional, you should be using medical terminology that they use in their everyday patient conversations.  If your target is a 35 year-old mother of two who is on the PTA, you should NOT be explaining your features and benefits with words that are not part of her everyday vernacular.  Discuss benefits in ways only understandable to your target.

Let's use Starbuck's USP as an example. This language was pulled directly from the Starbucks website and embodies what I believe their USP to be: We offer a selection of premium teas, fine pastries, and other delectable treats to please the taste buds. And the music you hear in store is chosen for its artistry and appeal. It’s not unusual to see people coming to Starbucks to chat, meet up, or even work. We’re a neighborhood gathering place, a part of the daily routine.

Here they showcase “premium” product, ambience, connection.  All things that play to their customers’ desires.  And they do so in plain, but aspirational, language that clearly articulates what value they provide to customers. If that statement gave you infinite details on the roasting process or how many bars of pressure their machines are tuned to, the consumer wouldn't care.

If I were to provide you an assignment, it would be this; write a 30-second elevator pitch to your customer, in their language and test it against your customer.  If you are having difficulty with this exercise, find the “stupidest person in the room”.  Watch the below video from Simon Sinek and what I hope you take from it is that most people will tell you your value proposition is great even though they don’t understand it.  And when you get to market, no one will buy it.

Watch Now.


The “stupidest person” is the one who is unafraid of asking clarifying questions.  Making you distill your message down to their level.  Don’t have someone like that in your network?  Explain what you do to a 6 year-old.  They are full of questions and will help more than you can imagine. Your pitch is like Career Day at elementary school. Just don't use a metaphor likening you and your product to Superman so you look better than the fire fighter that went before you.

If you need some further help with this or other brand, marketing or sales issues, check our Mahdlo.net and book up to an hour free with one of our advisors to discuss your situation.

Your USP - It's not about how smart you are, it's about how much your target wants it.