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What is your USP (Unque Selling Proposition)?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Josh.S, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Allure

    Allure LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    In the early 1940s, Ted Bates & Company carried out extensive market research on successful advertising campaigns. In particular they identified two desirable attributes: the penetration and the usage pull. - - The pattern they found among campaigns that produced a high usage pull was the basis for the theory of the USP. It may also be known as the unique selling point.

    In his book Reality in Advertising, Rosser Reeves (Chairman of the Board at Ted Bates & Company) gives the precise definition as it was understood at his company:

    Each advertisement must make a proposition to the customer: "buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."
    The proposition itself must be unique - something that competitors do not, or will not, offer.
    The proposition must be strong enough to pull new customers to the product.
    Reeves also wrote that a USP does not necessarily have to be a verbal message. It can be communicated both verbally and visually. For example, a classic Clairol advertisement showing a picture of a model and just the headline, "Does she or doesn't she?" implied the USP, "If you use Clairol products, people won't even notice that you dyed your hair."

    However, Reeves warns against forming a USP based on what he calls "The Deceptive Differential" - a uniqueness that is too small or too technical that customers cannot observe the differences in actual practice.
  2. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    Thanks a lot. Someone's done their homework. This is the part I've been trying to get across.
  3. Allure

    Allure LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    Glad i could help.
    we need more threads like this that actually encourage honest debate & provide thoughtful info.
  4. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Thank you for that reply, it is very interesting. It was probably groundbreaking information in the 40's. I think and would hope that marketing has evolved some over the last 60 something years.

    Here is an excerpt from something a little more current. From the E-Myth Mastery Program, Positioning and Differentiating your business.

    Your USP is nothing more than a short phrase that conveys what it is about your business that brings emotional gratification to the customers in your target markets.

    The most successful USP'S say nothing sensible to the conscious mind, but speak volumes to the unconscious mind. They are sufficiently vague to allow the unconscious mind to "read into them" any number of things and stimulate a wide variety of unconscious associations.

    I think others have expanded on Mr Reeves initial observations. What most here are describing would more likely be called a Positioning Statement. Based on what I have been taught.

    Here is another excerpt:

    The positioning statement restates and expands on the promised gratification of the USP, doing so in more literal terms with concrete language that should resonate with the people in your target market.

    So we are both working from solid information and like everything else 10 different people will give you 8 different ways to skin a goat. Why should marketing be any different. Thank you for the intelligent debate.
  5. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    This view is also good and very true, but E-Myth has adopted known principles and teach them in their own little way. Essentially, this is a modern day version of Reeve's thought, which are both geared toward the retail market (as E-Myth caters to).

    I think some people have a hard time distinguishing the marketing philosophies of retail and services industries. Although each industry "borrows" the others marketing thoughts, they are two different philosophies.

    In that; a service company's USP is not the (Unique Selling Point) that Reeves and E-Myth discuss, but rather the service industries adapted version of that..."Unique Service Proposition or Unique Service Provider". Also known as, "UVP" or "Unique Value Proposition". These thoughts did not utilize subliminal thought to convey a USP, but rather, a specific company trait, value, or action.

    I can't swear to my sources of that information, but I am a Dale Carnegie graduate and have been affiliated with 3 large marketing companies in the last decade. That's why I couldn't swear to you...

  6. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    Here is a great summary of the thought:

    Geoffrey Moore's value proposition should answer the questions: "Why should I buy this product or service?" as well as "Why should I do anything at all". It is a clear and specific statement about the tangible benefits of an offering.

    Here is a template for creating a value proposition, which may be referred to as a positioning statement. Note the first portion of the value proposition asserts the value of the offering and the second sentence asserts the positioning of that value.

    First Sentence:

    * For (target customer)
    * who (statement of the need or opportunity),
    * the (product/service name) is a (product/service category)
    * that (statement of benefit).

    Second Sentence:

    * Unlike (primary competitive alternative),
    * our product (statement of primary differentiation).

    Anyone in business, politics, or public service should be able to answer the question, What’s your value proposition?

    Read the entire article here:

  7. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    Example USP statement. This one stinks, so use some creativity:

    "For businessmen who don't have time to maintain their lawn and landscape Joe's Lawn Care is a service that will keep their property values from depreciating."

    "Unlike Bob's Lawn Care, our service is tailored to fit the lawns particular needs..."

    and then you start the closing pitch:

    "...We do this with our 14 point analysis on your current conditions and immediately taking measures to prevent future issues..."

    and then you end your close with:

    "...you are interested in raising your property value by, up to, 15% right? What package will best suit your need today Mr. Jones?"

    now stop talking, place your printed pricing list in front of him, and start listening.

    A good salesman will be able to overcome the "rebuttal" process which comes next. I'll discuss good rebuttals in another thread.
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Again with the old school information, sales now? Dale Carnegie? :laugh: He started his sales classes in the 50's-60's Just joking, again different approaches.

    I am a Sandler sales guy myself. Completely different approach than what you are doing but to each his own. I don't pitch to nearly as many people as you do. That is also by design. With out trying to sound arrogant I have never had a person not want our service the only question was can they afford it.

    I use a technique called reverse sales. I start from the very beginning telling people that our service is not for everyone, it is expensive, not all gardens need the level of service we provide. Human nature is that people always want what they can't have, so instead of me selling to them they are trying to figure out how they can buy from me. How can they fit our service into their budget.

    This is only going to have any value to the smallest % of people on site since most are in a different market completely. I really wonder what value a USP or positioning statement has to companies that are not consistently and actively advertising in print or radio. The USP is something that needs to be working on peoples subconscious or at the very least something they have heard enough to remember.

    In short people buy from people they like. If they like the guy that comes to do the bid and they can afford the service you stand a fairly good chance of closing the deal. Because most are selling a month to month service it does not matter what "tricks " you use to get them to sign up. If they have buyers remorse and cancel the next month you have wasted a lot of time.
  9. Josh.S

    Josh.S LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    Wow this is an extremely informative thread.

    Both of you (green + az) have very good points. I'm sure both of them would work in the right situations.

    Maybe we should have 2 different ways of closing deals for the different income brackets and type of people. I can't wait to take some college marketing classes next year.

    Az, I understand the psychology of what you would say to your target customer. Just say I was your target customer, what would say to make me buy from you? I'm assuming that you have to exert professionalism throughout 100% of your business to get people to buy from you.

    Thanks for all of you guys time, a thread well worth reading :clapping:
  10. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    You hit the nail on the head 100% from the first call.

    Then there is a very definite process, most people like structure it instills confidence.

    I am very transparent, I disclose all my fees right up front, before they even meet me. Not in a Bobby G sort of way but in a educational way. I work very hard at helping them understand what it takes to have a showpiece for a garden. I show them how I figure a bid, what my contract looks like, I even let them know we operate on a prepay system. All of this in a introduction letter that is at their home within 24 hours of the first call. If they like what they see they call me back for an interview and we go on from there if they don't call me back I wont bother them.

    The introduction letter is sprinkled with pictures of our properties and I include a picture of the crew. I also fill them in on my business plan so they can better understand how I am able to employ and keep the best gardeners.

    I think it is all about instilling confidence that their investment will be well taken care of. Their family and valuables are safe with my guys working there and that it is one less thing they will have to worry about.

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