October 5, 2020

Convince and Convert: A USP Is Your Argument for Success

What is a USP anyway?

Anyone who goes shopping is familiar with this – we’re spoiled for choice. Say you have laundry detergent on your shopping list. Now you’ve got to choose between the myriad of brands available.  So, which one should you buy? The one your grandmother has always used? The cheapest one? Or the eco-friendly one?

When there is a large selection to choose from, we need a solid argument for our purchasing decisions. Which is precisely what you should consider when selling, too. When marketing a product or service, you need to find the one decisive point that makes it special and attractive for customers – the point that makes it stand out from the crowd.

This is exactly what marketing calls a USP. The abbreviation stands for unique selling proposition or unique selling point. This is what distinguishes a product from the others and provides a decisive sales argument. It can refer to a particular quality or feature, a particular benefit or especially good value. Defining the USP and using it wisely can be a decisive, if not the decisive success factor. And this doesn’t only apply to sales. It’s about convincing people – even in presentations.



USP: Make your presentations even more convincing


USP: more than a slogan

A USP is not just an advertising slogan or a typical sales argument – it’s THE sales argument. It’s what makes the product or service truly “unique”. This is an important distinction for marketing as not every feature brings the same marketing benefits.

The following categories help distinguish these benefits:

Basic benefits:  

The basic benefit or purpose of the product or service. It can also be found in all similar products and offers. Example: Accounting software that helps with accounting activities.

Added value:  

Other useful features of the product or service, but which can also be found among competitors. For example: The accounting software has a review function that detects errors. 


A unique feature not offered by any other competitor. For example: the accounting software is easier to use than any other yet offers all the important functions.

A truly effective USP needs to be more than just unique. Here are some categories benchmarks to help choose a good USP:

Importance to your target group:  

The unique selling proposition should appeal to a specific target group and meet their needs.


The promise of the USP should be unique, but also credible and achievable, otherwise its integrity will suffer. Only a legitimate promise comes across as trustworthy.


A USP that can be claimed by many other companies is no longer unique and will soon lose its impact. Ideally, it should be difficult to copy allowing it to be used continuously.




The USP presentation: Communicate strengths and uniqueness

Whenever something needs to be marketed, the USP can be decisive. It pays to clearly define and communicate it. This is not only true for marketing in general, but also for PowerPoint presentations. Every company or sales presentation needs a direction, outstanding added value, to stand out. A well-defined USP can be particularly useful in this context.

Why? Because the USP can make all the difference. Your detergent cleans your laundry? Great, but what brand doesn’t claim this? Your software makes accounting easier? Many programs can do that. Do you have an idea on how to improve processes in your department? You’ re not the first. Why is your idea better than the others?

What special qualities and unique features make your offer stand out from the crowd? What can you provide that others can’t?

Communicating this through a successful USP presentation is a crucial step in the conversion process. In a marketing or sales PowerPoint presentation, the USP and its benefits need to by emphasized to your audience. Every presentation that sells an idea needs to focus on this. Basic and extra benefits are important but they won’t set your product or service apart – your USP will.


USP presentation


How to develop a USP and use it effectively

  1. What does the market look like?

To develop a decisive sales argument, you need to fully understand your market.  What other products, solutions, services, suggestions, ideas are already available? What kind of demand is there? What does our target audience want? What are the current developments and what opportunities could they lead to? Analyzing the market situation can reveal a crucial gap that could be filled with your USP.


  1. What can the competition do?

To stand out, you need to understand exactly what you want to stand out from. What kind of competition is out there? Which ideas and messages have been and are still being used and how well do they perform? What shortcomings or weaknesses are present that your own offer doesn’t possess?


  1. What can I do?

Now the task is to define what your own assets are. What are your strengths? What makes your offer attractive? These points need to be compared with the competitors’ products or services to identify your offer’s distinguishing features. External feedback, such as from customers, can be very insightful.


  1. What does our target group want?

Whether something can be successfully marketed depends on demand. You need to seriously consider what your potential customers could find interesting and desirable and why. This isn’t always about objective qualities, but also about subjective perceptions. Here’s an example: Not only is buying an eco-friendly laundry detergent good for the environment, it also gives us a feeling of doing something good and right. Potential emotional and psychological drivers are important considerations.


  1. Explore and optimize opportunities

Now that you have a good overall picture of the market situation, the target group’s wishes, your own qualities and those of the competition, it’s time to see what can be done with this.

  • What market gaps does your product or idea fill and what target group needs have not yet been satisfied?
  • What weaknesses do your competitors have that you yourself do not?
  • Which strengths and special features can be promoted and emphasized further?
  • What changes need to be made to your offer to make it unique?


  1. Define and word your USP

Once you’ve identified key selling points, you need to assess them and decide what you want to focus on. A brainstorming session can help you create an overview of features and figure out how to work them into your USP. You don’t have to focus on just one point. A combination of several features can also be a viable and marketable option.

Once a strategy has been chosen, it’s time to formulate it. The USP has to be worded in such a way that it hits home with your target group. A USP must be clear and memorable. In a presentation, a USP takes on the key responsibility of communicating its own advantages.


  1. Be believable

The USP is there to support the profile and image of your company product or service; it should always represent what you’re offering.  When new and additional features are continually added, the USP becomes diffuse and loses impact. The same is true if your USP is too similar to that of your competitors. It’s important to regularly review your USP and make sure it’s representing what you’re offering.

Also, the promise that the USP inherently makes needs to be realistic and realizable. A USP that isn’t true to its word can do more harm than good.




Features of an effective USP

What makes a good USP?

There’s no one way to write a USP. It can address a wide range of concerns, problems, conscious or unconscious desires and emotions of a target group. So, where does one begin? Here are some things to consider.


Offer quality
Outstanding qualities, expertise or attributes are all unique features that can be highlighted. These should, ideally, set your company, product or service apart from the competition.

“Our training concept was developed specifically for this industry and can be easily tailored to meet your needs.”
“This is the only software compatible with all standard operating systems.”
“I worked in this field for many years and offer specialized experience and expertise.”


Offer something exclusive
Exclusivity and individuality can be excellent distinguishing features, which are also often difficult to copy. Products of services that can be customized to the needs and wishes of the target group are garner a lot of interest. Limited editions, high prices and exclusive access are attractive to many people.

“Our credit card offer is available to a select group of customers only.”
“We customize our software to your exact needs.”
“I have specialized in consulting for family-owned companies and am fully competent in handling the particular challenges that arise in this sector.”


Offer an extensive range
A particularly wide-ranging offer or large selection can be very attractive.

“Our offer includes all services. They can be combined according to your needs.”
“I offer a particularly wide range of consulting services that covers all your interests.”


Offer the best price
Price is often the deciding factor. Especially when there are many offers of equal value; prospective customers like to choose the cheapest one.

But something doesn’t have to be cheap to score in this category. There are other ways to provide savings. For example, a slightly more expensive product that renders others obsolete can be extremely attractive to potential customers. Offering a wide range of services and expertise is another way to market the cost-effectiveness of your offer. An additional service or feature at no extra cost is always well received.

“This software provides the capabilities of five different programs combined.”
” When you choose our services, you’ll receive free maintenance for two years.”
“Our online support will help your employees install the software themselves. You’ll save the costs of an on-site service partner.”


Offer efficiency
In many sectors, speed and efficiency are more in demand than ever before. Those who can claim to provide a service faster than others can score points.

“We can develop the right software in record time.”
“In just three months, my method will have you working more efficiently than ever before.”
“Thanks to the innovative use of artificial intelligence, we can perform analyses faster than any other provider.”


Offer simplicity
Not every prospective customer is looking for everything and lots of it. Minimalism is a new trend that can be marketed. Offering a smaller number of options can also appeal to a target group.

“With us, you simply select between three straightforward service packages”.
“We provide just one, multi-purpose cleaning agent.”


Offer several benefits
It’s the right combination of different characteristics that target groups really find attractive. This combination can be decisive in especially competitive markets.

“Our product concept offers long-term benefits at one low price.”
“Or method ensures an efficient workflow and increased employee satisfaction.”


Offer exceptional service
Unique services can also make an offer stand out. Exceptional service can be used to create offers that are not just attractive, but also stand out.

“Our dedicated service hotline is available 24/7.”
” We will organize and manage your entire project. Sit back and let us do the work.”


Offer a good feeling
Emotions often influence or decisions. That’s why it’s a good idea to touch upon the emotional aspect of your product/service in your USP. The emotional aspect of a product or service. It simply feels better to choose an offer that contributes to a greater good. Developing such an image can pay off, but only if it’s credible and followed through on.

The emotional level can be approached in many ways: — the environment, sustainability, tradition, family or social commitment are popular choices. Sometimes it makes sense to address more than one issue, such as environmental protection and social commitment.

“For every euro you invest with us, we will donate 2 cents to organization ABC.”
“Our company believes in inclusivity.”
“Our family-run company manufactures entirely in Germany.”
“My coaching encourages a balanced and healthy work environment in your company.”


Offer guarantees
Security is important to many customers; guarantees and promises are appealing. Again, credibility is particularly important. A promise that can’ t be kept causes more damage than it’s worth.

“My program will increase your efficiency by at least 10% in just three months – guaranteed!
“We guarantee to make you the best offer!”


Offer personality
Although it’s difficult to define and even harder to create, personality is also an appealing factor. The personality factor applies to companies and individuals. A company can define specific characteristics and behaviors that underline its image and recognition value. A genuine and charismatic person can act as the face of a company and be the focus of advertising activities. An impressive example of this was Steve Jobs.

“We get to know our customers and greet them personally.”
“Our well-known CEO embodies our values and goals.”




The USP: an investment that pays off

Used correctly, the unique selling proposition is a valuable and profitable tool. It sets the tone in every marketing and sales presentation and can be the decisive success factor. Carefully choosing, shaping and cultivating your USP will ensure that your product or service resonates with your target group. This can demand ingenuity — nowadays it’s difficult to have something that no one else offers. But if it succeeds, it makes things a lot easier. I provides guidelines for marketing, company presentations, sales presentations and their effect on the target group. Putting time and effort into a clever USP pays off in the end.



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