Unique Selling Point

Unique Selling Point – Do you have one?

“Never Knowingly Undersold” most of us are familiar with John Lewis’s claim, as well as a marketing statement it is also a Unique Selling Point or USP.

Unique Selling Point or Proposition (USP)

It’s all about what makes you different from your competitors. Many of us are offering similar or identical products or services, a USP is what makes us different, hopefully better in the eyes of the customer. The simplest USP is to be the cheapest, whilst it may generate sales it may not deliver profits.

Don’t go overboard with USPs, for many businesses, one or two well executed is sufficient. What’s crucial is that you can deliver them and ideally your competitors cannot.

Features and Benefits

All too often, advertisers promote features whereas consumers buy benefits. It is the benefit that the feature delivers that matters. USP’s often relate to the services and support. Take John Lewis as an example again, on many goods they offer extended warranty at no extra cost. The benefit for the consumer is peace of mind.

Ideally the benefit you offer is sufficiently attractive that you win over customers at the expense of competitors. As a rule, never quote a feature unless you can also state the benefit it delivers.

Energy and the Environment are topical. A wide range of products make green claims, most though are features, actual money savings will have more impact.

Finding your USP or USPs

It’s important to know why people buy from you. You may be surprised that the reason is different from what you think. Take the time to ask some recent customers why they came to you, it’s also worth asking some of those you lost, why did they buy elsewhere.

Unique Selling Points vary across industries, but some apart from low prices have wide appeal;

  • Support on offer – extended hours available, fast response times, costs, how local
  • Finance – can you offer something different such as flexible terms
  • Delivery – Next day or faster, free or click and collect
  • Consultancy, Capability and Expertise – Demonstrating your expertise, building confidence that you know what you are doing
  • Product – Deliverable benefits of your product over a competitors

Here are some claims to be wary of;

  • Wide Range – this is often irrelevant
  • Good, Best etc. – just adjectives, not deliverable benefits or USPs
  • Economical etc. – again just a statement if not substantiated
  • Cheapest – This can make customers suspicious, and it’s often not true
  • Local – Only of use if it is relevant to sale in question


Every business has it’s USP, even if it is just the magnetic personality of the owner! USP’s are often the reason why people buy from you, it’s therefore important to recognise and maintain them.


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