P3M6 Your USP and Irresisitible Offer

So far in Pillar 3 on Your Market Position, you’ve done a lot of work to make sure you’re working in an attractive marketing – you’ve gone where the money is – and how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors.

From Customer Value To Marketing Message

The last module identified a) how to win and b) how to change the game and now we need to move from strategy to marketing.

This module is about creating the core marketing message that communicates your winning customer value proposition – who, what, why.

If you don’t tell customers how to position your business, they will do it themselves but probably not in a way that is flattering to your chances of making a sale.

I’m going to take you through a number of different methods for creating a short message that uniquely positions your business to sell. This way, I believe you have more chance of finding a method which works for you.

What Is A Unique Selling Proposition?

  • Rosser Reeve – “Reality In Advertising”
  • A Unique Selling Proposition must meet three criteria:
    • It must contain a proposition – offer a benefit people are willing to pay for
    • The benefit must be unique
    • It must sell – move people to take action
  • Wider concept – unique position to sell

There’s a lot been written about developing a Unique Selling Proposition or USP since it was first mentioned by advertising man Rosser Reeve in his book “Reality In Advertising”.

He argues that every advertisement needs to have a unique selling proposition – that it is must make a unique offer of benefits which are persuasive enough to move people to buy.

Since then the concept of USP has been broadened out to link back into the strategic concept of differentiation so you have a unique position to sell.

Think of it as a short statement which sets your business or products apart from your competitors.

Benefits of a Clear USP/Offer

There are compelling benefits to having a clear USP or reason why your product or service should be bought in preference to competitors.

  • More leads – creates push for initial action
  • More conversions – clearer idea that what you offer is what they want
  • More repeat purchases – better expectations of what customers are buying leads to happier customers
  • More referrals – the clear focus makes it easier to recommend your business to others

They all go back to the idea that an uncertain potential customer won’t turn into a buyer so you need to remove that uncertain on what you are offering.

Hard Truth

If you can’t explain why your business exists and why customers should buy from you rather than anyone else, then how can you expect your customers to buy and remember you unless you are the cheapest or most convenient?

Your task is to identify why people should buy from you (extensively covered in the last module) and then to educate your prospects (this module) so they can understand.

It may seem harsh but if you don’t have a USP, then you have no defence against competitors offering the lowest prices.

The Customer Choices

Customers only have a few choices to make when thinking about buying:

  • To buy from you
  • To buy from one of your competitors or a close substitutes
  • To delay buying
  • To decide not to buy – and buy something else which fill;s a different need or want
  • To decide not to buy – and save the money

You win by knowing and communicating your ABCDs.

That’s Advantage = Better, Cheaper or Different (in a good way).

“Unlike Our Competitors”

I heard Brian Tracy share this exercise which gets you thinking about what sets your product or business apart.

Imagine you are meeting an important prospective customer and all your competitors are there.

Each of you has to say why you are unique.

After each person speaks, the customer asks if the other competitors agree or disagree and if you’ve made false claims of uniqueness, your credibility goes down.

What do you say when it is your turn?

Basis Of Your USP

We’ve talked before about the difference between features and benefits and I think this is a very useful way to think about your USP.

  • The best source of a USP is a unique benefit/outcome/problem.If you have the only solution to a problem, then you have a USP and it’s the same if you can offer a unique benefit, even if others can solve the same problem.An example for my own business would be to claim that I am “the only coach who can help cash-strapped business owners to increase profit. But it is False. There are plenty who can help with the problem and offer the benefit.
  • A second powerful source for a USP would be a unique customer experience.In my case, this would be to claim that I am “the only coach who teaches you how to increase profit at a time and place convenient with an Internet membership site” – Again this is False.
  • Dropping down a level, you may be able to base your USP on a Unique feature.I am “the only coach who can help you increase profit with the proprietary Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity process” – This is True. For anyone who really buys into the logic of the Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity, then I am the only source.
  • Even if operations methods are the same, you can create a USP by being the first to claim – Schlitz Beer had massive success when Claude Hopkins discovered the process of making beer, was amazed by everything that was done and told the market. Other beer-makers were left thinking “that’s what we do” but they couldn’t come out and say it for fear of being called copycats.
  • The final way to find your uniqueness is to invent it. This is what Dan Kennedy calls creating a widget (special offer) which sets you apart from your competitors. It’s a package of services which appeals to a particular set of customers – think of an accountant interested in attracting start-up businesses who decides to offer a “New Business Start Up Program” which takes away the hassles and uncertainties involved in registering with the tax authorities and getting a bookkeeping system started.

USP examples

  • “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less — or it’s free.” Domino’s Pizza
  • “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight” Fedex
  • “The milk chocolate that melts in your mouth and not in your hand” M&Ms
  • “The sweet you can eat between meals, without ruining your appetite” Milky Way

It is tough to create a great USP and that’s why just about every author who writes on this subject quotes Dominos and Fedex.

Look at each example and the benefits are very clear to the customer.

You can see how the Dominos example can come from the customer value attributes as you look at the market of hungry students. It’s also interesting for what it doesn’t say – fresh and hot Yes, delicious, best tasting pizza ever, No.

Basis For USP

The source of your uniqueness can come from a wide range of factors – if it’s important to customers, then it is a possible source of uniqueness.

  • Best quality – Rolls Royce, Rolex
  • Best service – Nordstrom
  • Widest selection (Amazon) / Custom options (Dell)
  • Fastest – Bugatti / Fedex
  • First / latest
  • Strongest guarantee
  • Price – lowest / highest “the world’s most expensive sandwich”
  • Biggest / best selling
  • Special ingredients / formula – Coca Cola or KFC

Get specific.

“We have a big selection of books” or “we have a huge selection” doesn’t mean as much as “we stock 37,954 different book titles”. It gets even better if you fit it to a niche making “we stock 37,954 different book titles on sport.”

Beware – Find The Balance

Customers are cynical because they see too much marketing and may have been scammed with big promises which have been broken.

The common advice is to “Sell the sizzle and not the steak” but I recommend you sell both.

Try to avoid marketing hype & bluster with exaggerated claims and meaningless platitudes. Adjectives should be used sparingly in your marketing copy and I have a particular hatred for the word “ultimate”.

However it can get difficult to create enough of a selling message to persuade people to take action. It’s a fault of human nature but people want magic pills & silver bullets. Make something sound “quick & easy” and it immediately feels much more appealing than “slow and difficult.”

Marketing author Seth Godin talks about a joint conspiracy to buy in his book “All Marketers Are Liars”. Consumers want to buy and they want the marketers to give them enough emotional and logical reasons to justify the buying decision.

Back To Basics with Mark Joyner

An alternative approach which I like is to go back to basics with marketing expert Mark Joyner and the four big questions customers are asking.

  • What are you trying to sell to me?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Why should I believe you?
  • What’s in it for me? (known widely as WIIFM)

Q1 – 3 are based on Logic, and Q4  on Emotion.

If you only appeal to emotion, your sales pitch can look shallow and full of hype so it’s essential to give the rational mind enough to justify the purchase to the buyer and anyone the buyer may tell.

The Irresistible Offer (TIO)

We’re going to look at what Mark Joyner describes in his best-selling book “The Irresistible Offer: How To Sell Your Product Or Service In Three Seconds Or Less”.

The irresistible offer is:

  • “An identity building offer central to a product, service or company where the believable return is communicated so clearly and efficiently that it’s immediately apparent you’d have to be a fool to pass it up.”

Mark is currently offering a pdf copy of The Irresistible Offer free of charge (affiliate link) to members of Simpleology. It is a great marketing book.

3 Elements of The Irresistible Offer

  • A high ROI offer
    • The value for money you offer – we covered this extensively in the last module and your marketing should begin with a product or service which gives outstanding value.
  • A touchstone
    • This is a short marketing message which is used to grab attention and answer some of the 4 big questions – what, how much, why believe, WIIFM
  • Believability
    • How you can prove you can be trusted
    • Social proof, facts, logic (reason why), endorsements, guarantee

Customer Contact With The Irresistible Offer

According to Mark Joyner, the prime example of an irresistible offer is Dominos “fresh hot pizza delivered to you in 30 minutes or it’s free”.

This is strong because it basically sets up a no lose situation for the customer.


a) Dominos meets its promise and fresh, hot pizza arrives quickly; or

b) Dominos fails and the customer still gets pizza, has to wait a bit longer than expected but it’s free.

The customers are drawn into the irresistible offer.

  • The touchstone attracts attention and creates interest to look deeper
  • The customer then sees evidence that you can be believed and trusted
  • Then sees the value in your offer – consistent with the touchstone – and realises it would be crazy to say No.

It creates a positive inner dialogue – “Mmm. This looks interesting, credible and valuable – I’ll buy it.”

Use Your USP/TIO Everywhere

The factors of your key marketing message need to keep coming through in all your marketing

  • Direct mail
  • Advertising
  • Website
  • Face to face selling
  • The basis for your elevator speech when networking

Elevator Speech

  • Your role – turns you into a commodity – brings in current perceptions
  • Aim to start a conversation
  • 10 seconds
  • What you do
  • Who you help
  • How they benefit (problem to solution)

How do you introduce yourself when you are networking?

If you start off with “Hi my name’s …. and I’m a (accountant, solicitor, fitness coach…)” then you are making a huge mistake.

It immediately turns you into a commodity – “I’m an accountant… just like all the other accountants.”

Just as bad, it brings in the the preconceived ideas the other person has about what you do. Any bad experiences from the past are reflected back on you.

Instead you should use a short, 10 second statement which pieces together who you help, what you do and how they benefit with the intention of starting a conversation if they fit into your target group.

The short statement I often use is “I help small business owners find hidden profit from overlooked opportunities and offer a guaranteed 500% return on investment.”

Here is an excellent video from another of my mentors, Michael Port.

30 Second Statement

Marketing coach Veronika Noize has moved one step further with a 30 second presentation to help you answer the “tell me more” question you want to hear. If you go to breakfast networking meetings then this makes a great start to your one minute presentation.

  • 5 elements
    • The description of the client
    • The situation
    • The barrier
    • The problem
    • The solution

Here is an example I use

  • Who – You know how many small businesses provide a great product or service to their customers
  • Situation – but they are not very good at marketing.
  • Barrier – They are confused by it and get frustrated when they spend their time and money for small results.
  • Problem – Their businesses don’t grow as fast as they should and the entrepreneurs don’t receive the rewards their hard work and excellent products and services deserve.
  • Solution – I am a business coach. Through one to one coaching and low risk, low cost marketing techniques I help my clients discover hidden profits by leveraging the strength of their great products and services combined with the excellent customer relationships they create.

What To Do

  • Take your formula for creating more customer value and turn it into a compelling marketing message.
  • Inspiration for a USP or the formula for the Irresistible Offer with a touchstone (slogan) strong enough to pull customers in.
  • Update your elevator speech

Summary Of Pillar 3

A quick recap of what we’ve covered in Pillar 3 and how it links into future Pillars of Business Prosperity.

  • How to find where the money is and will be in your industry.
  • How you understand what customers value.
  • How you design “winning” customer value into your products and services.
  • How you can communicate customer value – your USP plus Pillar 4.
  • How you deliver customer value through your business – Pillars 7 & 8

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