Don’t Get Caught Without An Answer

When I owned Raven Machine and Tool, I made a list of companies I wanted on my customer list.  Tennant was at the very top.  They had a reputation for producing top quality products.  They were loyal to suppliers, paid promptly and when potential customers saw you worked with Tennant they knew you were a good supplier.   

When I finally scored an appointment with the buyer, I was ready.  I amassed all the information I thought they’d need.  I studied up on their products, knew where their different plants were located and even talked to a couple of their current suppliers.  I was nervous but ready. Then came the question I hadn’t prepared for. “Lots of machine shops want to do our work.  Why should we work with Raven Machine & Tool?”

Because you are number one on my hit list?  Because having your name on our customer list will give us prestige? Because we’ll try really hard to meet your needs?

I don’t remember my exact answer anymore but whatever I said worked, because Tennant became a great customer.
Had I been a little more astute, I would have known that the buyer was asking for our differentiators – those unique features that set us apart from the competition. 

Today differentiators are called a unique selling proposition (USP).  A USP is a well-thought-out statement that distinguishes a company from other businesses in its category.  Your USP tells potential customers why they should do business with you.

An effective USP speaks volumes about the company and makes a clear statement about what you bring to the table.
If you don’t have a USP, you can begin crafting your own by using one of these seven traits:

  1. Convenience:  Customers recognize and appreciate how easy it is to buy or use your product or service.  Think Jimmy Johns sandwiches or Domino’s pizza 30 minute guarantee.
  2. Reliability/Dependability:  Your product or service never fails.  Think of the Bob Seger song, Chevy trucks are all tough “like a rock.”
  3. Quality: Your product is luxurious, top notch.  Customers describe your product using superlatives.  Think the Liz Taylor White Diamondscommercial.
  4. Superior Customer Service:  You are always there for your customers. You give them peace of mind. They know they can count on you and your staff.
  5. Creativity: Your product or service inspires people to think outside the box.  Think Apple’s challenge toThink Different.
  6. Offbeat Humor:  Some companies use humor or reverse psychology as their unique selling proposition.  Think of Mr. Whipple and “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.”
  7. Emotion: Does your product or service spark certain emotions in people? Think De BeersA diamond is forever.

Your goal is to have a consistent message whenever anyone thinks of your company.  Good luck in crafting your unique selling proposition.

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