Tennant has always had a reputation for producing top-quality products. They were loyal to their suppliers, paid within 15 days (with a discount), and were door openers for attracting other respected manufacturers.
I desperately wanted Tenant on Raven’s customer list. When I finally scored an appointment with the buyer, I was ready. I knew their product lines, and where their plants were located and had talked to some of their current suppliers. I thought I was well prepared until the buyer asked: “Lots of machine shops want our business; Why should we work with Raven Machine & Tool?”
Hmmmm. It was a question I hadn’t anticipated.
- Because having your name on our customer list would give us prestige?
- Because we’d turn ourselves inside out to meet your needs?
I don’t remember my answer, but it must have worked because Tennant became a great customer.
I learned an invaluable lesson that day; the buyer was asking for our differentiators – those unique features that set us apart from the competition.
Differentiators today are called a unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a well-thought-out statement that distinguishes a company from its competitors.
Your USP tells potential customers why they should do business with you.
- Kiva connects people through lending to alleviate poverty.
- We help nerds, misfits, and mutants lose weight, get strong and get healthy permanently! Nerd Fitness
- They’ll fight over it when you’re dead. Saddleback Leather
- Making everyday sustainable living possible. Mast Brothers
Each of these unique selling propositions defines what sets these companies apart. If you don’t have a USP for your company, you can begin crafting one with these seven potential traits:
- Convenience: Customers love how easy it is to buy or use your product or service. Think Jimmy John’s fast delivery promise.
- Innovative Features: Your product or service is the most up to date on the market. Think of the 2022 GMC Sierra commercial using the Queen song “We Will Rock You.”
- Quality: Your product is luxurious and top-notch. Customers describe your product using superlatives. Think of the 2023 Jaguar F-Pace Car.
- Superior Customer Service: You are always there for your customers. You give them peace of mind. They know they’ll always talk to a real person when they need to. Think of Paris Hilton commercial for Hilton Hotels “It matters where you stay.”
- Creativity: Your product or service inspires people to think outside the box. Think of Apple’s timeless challenge to Think Different.
- Offbeat Humor: Some companies use humor or reverse psychology as their unique selling proposition. Think of the old commercial with Mr. Whipple and “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.”
- Emotion: Is there an emotion you want your customers to feel when they think about working with your company? Think De Beers “a diamond is forever.”
What memorable and creative words would you use to describe the experience you give customers? That’s a good place to start.
The road is easier together,
Linda Laitala, President
Raven Performance Group