We ask this question of new clients A LOT. Our aim in asking is not to identify what the company offers in terms of product or service - we already know that from the initial research. The question is instead asked to deeply understand why the business does what it does in the first place.
Why's that important? Because when you understand why your business does what it does, this affects every single element of your business. It affects how employees are trained. It dictates the services you provide to your client. And, you guessed it, it affects how you portray your business to the wider world through marketing.
If potential customers can clearly understand not only what you do but also why you do it and what makes you different from your competitors, they set an expectation for your business. When they decide to hire you, and you keep meeting that expectation, that client relationship becomes one of trust and trust has always been the most crucial part of doing business.
Though it sounds simple to boil down your entire business offering to one question, it can actually be one of the most challenging to ask yourself and the one that requires the most thought.
What makes us unique?
We understand. You're busy running your business, making sure everyone's happy and productive while also delivering for your clients. So while you're working away, it can be challenging to step back and consider what sets you apart.
So before we think about what your unique selling point could be, let's take a look at what it (perhaps) shouldn't be.
When you were embarking on your very first job hunt, do you remember writing on your teenage CV that one of your qualities was "punctuality"? Me too.
The thing with saying that you are punctual to a prospective employer is that the word may sound good, but when you step back and think about it, you're not actually saying much at all.
When you go to work, you have agreed working hours, so you're already expected to turn up on time. By saying you're punctual, you're not highlighting your uniqueness. You're just checking the box for one of the essential elements of working life. The same goes for when businesses say that their unique selling point is that they are reliable.
I mean, that's great. Good job.
But customers expect reliability. And that's the key. The customer already expects this from your company, or any other company they decide to work with. So if your USP is reliability, it misses the point of actually being unique.
We get it.
Internally, you maybe see the work that your competitors are putting out and you genuinely, in your heart of hearts, believe that your product is superior. It may be and if it is, go team!
But again, quality, to an external audience, is not uniqueness. When was the last time you saw a company advertising that they undertake sub-standard work and adopt a "that'll do" attitude?
In the crudest terms, your customers are giving you money to work, and they expect to get what they've paid for. Delivering on this doesn't make you unique. It just means you've completed the task you were asked to complete.
There's a saying that you should never rely on someone who says "trust me".
Those who can be trusted don't even need to utter these two words, because their actions say it all. As I said earlier, by meeting the expectations of your client, you'll build trust. The operative word there is "build".
By saying you're trustworthy right off the bat, even though true, it just doesn't do a lot for you. Your customer will essentially and subconsciously be thinking, "we'll see about that". Trust needs to be earned and unfortunately, there just aren't any shortcuts to achieving that.
The Next Step
Found yourself using some of these words in the past to describe your company? Don't worry, we see this a lot. And we're here to help.
We can help you discover your USP and ensures it underlines every single piece of marketing you do. From events to social media, advertising to website development, we can help you bring out your uniqueness and show it to the world.
Stay tuned for our next insight where we speak about how you can develop your USP, and the essential people you should involve in this process.