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:
- 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.
- Reliability/Dependability: Your product or service never fails. Think of the Bob Seger song, Chevy trucks are all tough “like a rock.”
- Quality: Your product is luxurious, top notch. Customers describe your product using superlatives. Think the Liz Taylor White Diamondscommercial.
- 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.
- Creativity: Your product or service inspires people to think outside the box. Think Apple’s challenge toThink Different.
- 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.”
- Emotion: Does your product or service spark certain emotions in people? Think De Beers“A 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.