Many business owners say their point of difference is superior customer service. However, this is generally wrong, given this is expected of every modern business.
“It's an interesting question, because coming from a business perspective you do definitely – and I'm exactly in the same boat – you do become so focused on what you do and so committed to what you do, and how you perceive your strengths is not necessarily what the market is looking for,” says Sascha Moore, founder of Create Design & Marketing.
“Taking the step back to actually ask yourself that question, I'd really encourage businesses to do, because … service isn't a unique selling point.
“Service is expected. [Ask yourself], ‘What do we do differently and how is that relevant to our market?’.
How to determine your USP
Sascha says that for all of her clients, and every business owner out there, there is a process behind determining exactly what their unique selling point (USP) is.
“To be able to interpret what that requires from a business level is for you to interpret your service and then why it's better, or why it's different,” she explains.
“I'd encourage all business owners in all different industries to work out not what you do, that's not the point of difference.”
Sascha uses the example of a local dentist.
“Your point of difference might be that you have a sale strategy that makes sure that you have a complete referral network buttoned up,” she suggests.
“Your point of difference is that you connected to your audience in a very saturated way, and what I mean by that is if you're seeing one person, you're seeing the whole family. You're seeing their aunts, you're seeing their uncles, you're saturating that point of referral to the point that you are the family dentist. The family dentist is your unique selling point, and you're legitimising that with your sales program.
“Your point of difference isn't service … that you fix teeth; the point of difference is that you are the family dentist and this is how you can quantify that.”
Identifying your true point of difference will help you connect with new customers.
“Taking that a step further, you're then going to be involved in community activities, you're going to be supporting the school, you're going to make sure that in social media you're known as that, and you're going to quantify your term as the family dentist,” says Sascha.
“You're not just [another] dentist with 50 dentists in the area. When somebody looks you up, they're going to see your involvement, they're going to feel the trust based on your sense of family.”
How Sascha identified her USP
“In our situation, we recently rewrote and redeveloped our website, and it was a really interesting exercise because it really put a lot of focus on us and our team to work out how we actually position our point of difference ... I can give advice about that, but when it's your own company it's a very different story,” she says.
“Really the point of difference for us is the merging of strategy and design: that is what we do differently to other agencies.
“So what's my true competitive point of difference? A) it's that, and b), it's our approach to the markets that we're in. Our approach is to drill deep in a very defined market. Both our offering and the way we approach our offering, as well as the way that we approach our market, is our genuine point of difference.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.