What is your USP?

How often do you hear this question?  In a sales environment it is something that is drummed into you throughout your sales career.  Each company has their own “USP”  (Unique Selling Point) or so they will tell you anyway.  However, why is it that some people sell more than others in the same company? I mean if they all have the same USPs to play with then surely they should all be pretty much on the same level.  I’m being flippant! Clearly there is experience, business understanding, training and many other factors which contribute to a salesperson’s success and this is the point I’m going to pick up on.

In today’s very busy world how do you make your company stand out from the crowd?

I’ve actually already answered this question in the opening paragraph.  The USP that matters has very little to do with the company, it is actually YOU.  You are the difference that your company needs.  Let’s just take a hypothetical situation to highlight what I mean:

John and James both work as independent consultants for the same B2B communication company.  They have fixed prices which neither of them can deviate from and they both have the same set of USPs to work with.  Both John and James have the same amount of experience and have received identical corporate business training but when they both turn up to meet the same client 80% of the time the sale is given to John and not James.  Why?

The reason is because John has found his own USP.  With very few exceptions nearly all B2B selling comes down to how you position yourself and not the company you work for.  How many times has it been said that if you get “Mr or Ms X” in front of the decision maker you’re most likely to win the business?

So how has John found his USP?  What has he done to get there?  He’s worked hard is what he’s done.  Sunday evenings he’ll be sat at home taking an hour out to plan his week ahead.  Each night he’ll take half an hour of his own time to fine tune his plans for the next day.  He will read industry magazines and he will become a valued resource, or expert if you’d rather, in his own field of business.  He will not only understand his own line of work but he’ll also take the time out to understand his potential client’s business too.  He’ll be able to demonstrate how he’s helped similar clients achieve their corporate goals through his assistance in the past and he’ll know when to call in another expert when his knowledge or expertise runs out.

The list of activities which John will do above and beyond James is endless and they all go to creating John’s USP.

So my question to you is:

What’s your USP?