18 Possibilities to Build Your Unique Selling Position

Every business needs to have a unique selling position…something that makes them different from the competition. To give you some ideas, I’ve included an excerpt from my Next Generation Marketing Makeover guide (a 10 week self-study coaching program that comes with my Next Generation Marketing Magic course for local business owners). If you’re interested in promoting any local business on the Internet…or you’re interested in promoting local business in your area as a service, you absolutely need this course.

There are a multitude of different unique selling positions you could make, but here are a collection of 18 of the most commonly used methods. Use this list as an idea generator, but don’t let it replace the customer research you do to find your niche’s “pain.” Your business can end up shipwrecked if you just randomly pick something from this list because YOU think it sounds good. If you’re not the “perfect” customer for your business, then your opinion doesn’t count.

Method #1 – Lowest Prices

A big company such as Wal-Mart can use this very effectively. They have such wholesale buying power they can get things as cheap as or cheaper than anyone else. You could potentially use this marketing strategy if you have lower overhead than everyone else you compete against. The big danger in this focus is when a competitor comes in and beats you in pricing. Wal-Mart did this to Kmart. Prices are the most obvious way to benefit your customers so this is where most competition focuses. If you have the lowest prices though, this is a very powerful focus while you own it.

Method #2 – Payment Options

You may not have the absolute lowest prices, but maybe you offer the best terms available. If your competition requires immediate payment, you could offer 30 days or 90 days same as cash. You could put off interest and payments till next year. You could offer lower monthly payments or lower interest than everyone else. Many consumers now think only in terms of monthly payments so this can be a powerful option in place of having the lowest prices overall. Simply give people the lowest monthly payments.

Method #3 – Club Membership

Sam’s Club and Costco are two great examples of the club membership. Both also offer low prices and Costco is known for their powerful guarantees. The basis of their business models is all around the club membership. If they can get you to be a member of the club, you’ll use it and buy more from them. The whole pitch is really based on Exclusivity. Their prices, member services, and other privileges are ONLY to members. Everyone else is left out. This can be so powerful at times that you can show one of their loyal members a better price somewhere else and they’ll still stick to their story that the product is priced best at Sam’s Club.

Method #4 – By Referral Only

Many professionals such as dentists have created “By Referral Only” businesses. This is a business where you can’t just call them up and schedule an appointment. The only way you can get in to see them is if you’ve been referred by another client. This is another “exclusive” type of Unique Client Focus. Your clients know they’re “special” and that you want them to refer other great clients just like them. This type of practice is very powerful when you have a set of base clients who can refer you continually (we discuss referrals in depth in a later week).

Method #5 – Best Selection

Some shops may only have one or two brands they carry, but you carry 25 of the most popular brands. Maybe you have the most suits or the most name brand tools. Maybe you have parts to fix every home appliance. You could have uncommon paintings, models, or educational toys. Maybe you specialize in big and tall clothing. You could have a buffet restaurant with 185 different dishes available everyday. Amazon.com was originally the world’s largest bookstore since they made every book with an ISBN number available through their system.

Method #6 – Better Guarantee or Warranty

Craftsman tools built their business based on a lifetime warranty. They simply told you if the tool breaks, bring it back for a replacement. It’s a powerful client focus. You could provide the best guarantee or warranty in the business. Guarantee your products for twice as long as everyone else. Warranty them to do more than other people do. Show your customers you’ll stick your neck out by standing on the quality of your products in writing. If everyone else warranties their products for 1 year, give all your customers a 3 year or 5 year warranty. You can easily see how much more powerful this is then simply saying, “Better quality.”

Method #7 – Customer Service

Just like you’d never want to say better quality, you also never want to say, “the best customer service in the business.” In a market where everyone else is only open 9 to 5, you could easily say, “24-7 customer service.” If the pain in your market is everyone else used automated answering systems and make you take a 30 minute runaround to get to a live customer agent, you could promise contact with a live support agent in 3 minutes or less. If you sold computers, you could talk about how every one else sells you simply a high priced paperweight while you offer 1-800 trained tech support agents to make sure you get maximum value and use out of your purchase.

Method #8 – More Personal Attention

A doctor’s office could tell their clients they’re getting a doctor who really listens to them instead of just being another file for a clipboard. A salesperson could give their own phone number in case a client ever has any problems with what they’ve purchased (instead of having to deal with someone different). The clothing store can provide free measurements and fitting for all their clothing. How could you use this same type of appeal?

Method #9 – Upscale Appeal

Maybe you only want to deal with a specific type of client – such as executives, millionaires, professional women, etc. A real estate agent may only work in a specific neighborhood. You can buy jeans for $30 or you can pay $300 for them (of course you can pay $800 or more also if you like). What’s the difference? There may be some quality differences, but the big difference is the story behind the more expensive pair and how they appeal to their customer’s emotions. One of the most famous car ads of all time was written by David Ogilvy with the headline, “At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

Method #10 – Longest Track Record

If you’ve been in business for 20 years and all your competitors have only been around a few years, you can focus on this. Make sure you focus on it as a benefit though. Just saying, “In business for 20 years,” is worthless. “20 years experience in saving you money on taxes,” is much better. The kind of market where this would work best is in a market where the clients feel their biggest fear is poor work from inexperienced professionals. I wouldn’t want to be the first person in line for Lasik eye surgery to a brand new graduate, and I doubt you would either.

Method #11 – Most Convenient Locations

A bank may advertise having multiple convenient locations and ATMs. The video store may only focus on their neighborhood and tell them how close they are. A restaurant next to all the office buildings in town may advertise how convenient they are for lunch or how quickly they deliver to nearby locations. The dry cleaner could offer in home pickup and drop off of garments. Rental cars and tour companies often offer hotel pickup at travel destinations. Tech companies offer computer house calls.

Method #12 – Celebrity Endorsement

Sometimes the primary offer is simply that some celebrity or expert recommends it. You see product lines such as clothing, jewelry, makeup, perfumes, etc. which bear the celebrity’s name. For example, how many items can you find with Michael Jordan’s name on them (and he doesn’t even play basketball anymore)? People always want to be like their celebrity heroes. Experts may also be used such as, “the only toothpaste recommended by the American Dental Association.”

Method #13 – More Education and/or Events

If the pain in the marketplace stems from overzealous sales people and a horrible fear of being ripped off, you could provide the best education. Professionals, such as, lawyers, accountants, coaches, consultants, etc. can write books or make speeches to bring in their prospects. Stores, shops, and dealerships could focus on running events with fashion shows, book signings, public speakers, etc. Any type of business can focus on offering free reports, audio, or videos about their marketplace. EAS sports supplements built a large portion of their business through a fitness contest and the magazine published by the same owner. Note: This type of Unique Client Focus combines well with many of the others.

Method #14 – Additional Bonuses/Premiums

Maybe you offer a complete DVD system showing how to learn all the most useful software programs with each computer purchase (see Method #13 above). Little Caesar’s grew based on their “Pizza, Pizza.” If you bought one, you received another one free. Anyone who buys a pool from your company may also get a free retractable cover. “Free 30 Minute Coaching Session with Every Order,” would be a powerful focus for any company selling training products.

Method #15 – Faster Service

This was Domino’s pitch with the 30 minute guaranteed delivery. Your Internet Company could offer shipping within 24 hours if most companies take a week. I’m sure you’ve heard the promotion, “Glasses within an hour.” Your plumbing service could offer two hour emergency service, even on weekends. Wouldn’t you love any home installation company which guaranteed their technicians to show up within 30 minutes of their scheduled time? How about a doctor who guaranteed to see you within 15 minutes of your appointment? Every other computer shop may take a week to repair your computer, but you could guarantee less than 3 day turn-around time. The ski instructor could guarantee basic ski skills within only 2 lessons. The restaurant may guarantee meals within 15 minutes for the lunchtime business crowd. There are an infinite number of possibilities here (people love fast results).

Method #16 – Specialty in Niche Market

Specialists cost more than general practitioners in any marketplace. You could be a fitness trainer who only trains women age 30 – 45. You may be the real estate agent to several specific neighborhoods. Maybe you’re the coach to work-at-home moms. The web design company may only design sites for chiropractic offices. You could be the tax accountant who negotiates with the IRS for back taxes. You might write books and produce DVDs only for Golden retriever lovers. You could be the backpacking guide for executives.

Method #17 – Affinity Groups

This is similar to specialization but revolves more around the specific group you market to. For example, you could be the insurance agent who deals primarily with people in specific churches. You may target specific clubs such as the Lion’s Club or the Chamber of Commerce. You can target the group by concentrating your marketing and referral generating strategies to them. You can also offer special discounts or more personalized service if you choose to make using your business more attractive to all the members in the group you’re working with.

Method #18 – Preemptive Advertising

Maybe you don’t have anything you see as “special” in your business. You could simply choose a benefit of your product or service no one has ever mentioned yet. This was originally taught by Claude Hopkins when he had a beer producer tell the whole story about how their beer was made. Other companies used the same process, yet they were the first ones to tell the story. Look at the slogan M&Ms have used, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” That would also be true of other chocolate candy, yet they were the first ones to talk about it. Anyone else would simply be a copycat. If you’re the first one to tell the whole story about your product and service and how it benefits your client, it can give you immediate advantage in the marketplace. Your entire industry may do things no one outside the industry knows or understands. It is commonplace to you, but it could be the avenue for big benefits to your customers.

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