HOW TO SELL YOUR PRODUCT TO THE RIGHT CUSTOMERS.
Hello, I’m coming with four friends this Sunday to your restaurant. I want to go to your place, but one of the guys wants to go to another place. Help me convince the group; what makes your stuff better?
Hello, hello, are you still there? Yellloooo, damn, she just hung up on me, tut tut tut!
I hope this isn’t the story of your business. If so, then god bless you; we got a big problem to fix here.
What I have asked you at the beginning of this article is to tell me why the heck should I spend my money with your business, it’s known as your unique selling proposition, “USP” or what’s in it for me.
To be honest, it’s such an easy and straightforward concept to grasp, yet marketers and business owners had to turn it into a complicated, overly sophisticated formula so they can pat themselves on the back for the extra wasted effort.
Let’s forget about everything you knew in the past; let’s clear out all the unnecessary fog and make things simple for you.
Let me ask a question first:
Why your friends are your friends in the first place?
(Talking about simple… I told you we marketers are overly sophisticated).
The last time I checked on you, it looked like that your friends are your friends, because who you are, duh!
They like the way you are, you both share certain hobbies, ideas, and values in common, you understand them well, and they try to understand you as well.
Therefore, they find it “valuable and enjoyable” to be with you, and it’s in their favor to be your friend.
On the other hand, they are not your friends because you are a human being or an American citizen or even because you are their schoolmate or neighbor.
Last time I checked, there were 7.4 billion people on planet earth, 327 Million American people, and god knows how many neighbors you have in your neighborhood.
Every day they meet, shake hands and talk with up to 10 people and yet they chose you to be their friend.
If I can get you to grasp and wrap your mind around what I have just said, then you have already mastered the concept of a unique selling proposition.
Let’s take the last concept and apply it to a story in the context of business.
Let’s assume that I’m visiting Los Angeles and hungry as hell, I want to try some pizza, and let’s assume that there are 50 pizza restaurants in my neighborhood.
I walk across the street and see a sign on the top of each store that says “Best pizza in town” as a first-time in Los-Angeles, in your opinion, which store should I get in?
Here are my possibilities:
1. I randomly pick a store and get inside “good or bad. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m getting into, it’s 100% pure luck.”
2. I look at how much money do I have in my pocket and either find a fancy store and get in or just find a 50% Off store cross my fingers and get in “Still, I don’t know what I’m getting, I might get ripped off in the fancy store, or an excellent deal in the discount store, but still nothing certain.”
3. I call a friend of mine who is smart, I open my desperate mouth and start speaking, hey man, I’m here in the middle of Los Angeles downtown and starving like hell, I heard that you guys got some excellent pizzas here what would you suggest?
Him: Umm, I don’t know… Umm, let me think, well, what are you exactly looking for? “he was smart enough to ask me what I want.”
Me: Hmm. That’s a good question. Never thought about that!
Him: Well, my friend, we got different stores that come with different specialization. Some are by the style of pizza: Italian, Greek, New-York, California pizza, anything you like to try?
Me: Hmm. That’s sounds interesting, what about California pizza?
Him: Yeah Yeah, man, I know like 5 or 6 pizza stores that offer California pizza, but tell me first, are you looking for something on a budget, or do you want something with a special treat.
You know, like… a nice mood, friendly environment and all of that fancy expensive stuff that costs you a leg but you never use, you know what I mean; they make you feel treated like a king.
Me: I guess I want to try something fancy, you know I only got to visit here once in a lifetime, so why not make it fancy?
Him: Yeah yeah man, I know this store, it’s California Pizza, and it’s fancy, it’s pretty famous here in Los Angeles, actors and movie stars come here to eat pizza.
It’s a small restaurant, established around 30 years ago, the decoration is impressive, the lighting and music are fantastic, it’s owned by the best pizza Pizzaiolo “chef” in Los Angeles.
He is 75 years old, but till now, he makes sure to bake his pizza by his hand, all fresh and organic, and their pizza is O.M.G is so crispy and delicious, it will make you not only lick your fingers but also eat them.
Unlike all those other stores, they buy the pizza from different stores, put it in the microwave, and then shove it in your face.
Me: WOAH, tell me what’s the name of that restaurant, bro.
Him: Yeah yeah man, “Pizzeria Mozza” totally worth it, let me send you the address.
Me: I diffidently want to check that place.
Him: Am I invited?
Me: Can’t hear you bro, Tut, Tut, Tut.
Have you noticed what just happened? Isn’t it similar to the story of why your friends have chosen you in the first place?
Out of 50 pizza stores, there was this little restaurant “Pizzeria Mozza” who is known for a specific “Niche” to a particular group of “Customers” and “Offers” a specific kind of “Experience” and “Products.”
Let me tell you another story, this is a real-life story that happened to me while I was in high-school:
“All guys at school like to talk, talk and talk, I like to stay quiet, most girls like those type of guys, and they were not interested in guys like me, always sitting in the corner never being seen.
Until one day, a beautiful girl with short blonde hair, sexy brown eyes, and cute circular eyeglasses slightly hanged over her small sweet nose.
She sat just beside me, and MANNN I got to tell you I was shaking, I was shaking because she looked so damn smart and exciting. In my eyes and heart, her look is translated to sexy, I was wondering, is she the one?
Anyway long story short, she came and sat beside me and then she said, “I have been observing you for a long time; I said okay, pretending to be calm, then she said I found out that you are very quiet.
“Unlike the other guys who are very childish, foolish, and noisy, you know what, to me, it all feels the same, you have fun a while, then things start to get boring.”
They talk about the same topics “how to fool with a girl” dress the same, even laugh the same, being with one of them makes me feel like I have no taste; if I chose anyone of them, it’s not going to be different or matter.
But to me, you look different, and in “My” world, different means genius! “The quietest guy in class” boring to everyone but not to “Me” she was the first girl who made me feel understood me, but she was not the one.
Everyone would give you a formula about how to craft the best unique selling proposition, but they forget what the essence of a “USP” in the first place is.
Let me help me clarify things for you:
You need to craft a story, a story about your customer, and how you would make them delighted, then distill it into few words if necessary, forget about the 30-seconds lousy elevator pitch, no one is interested or is willing to spread the word for a pitch.
Let’s craft a story for your brand:
1. In what market do you want to be different?
If you don’t know what market and the niche you are in, you gotta start from there first, read this article: How to find a profitable niche.
2. To whom you want to be different?
If you don’t understand your customers’ wants, needs, problems, and desires, please do your market research, read this post: How to find products for your customers.
3. Comparing to whom you want to be different?
If you don’t understand your competitors, what do they offer, what makes them different, it will not be clear for you which gap in the market should you fill, read this article: How to crush your competition.
4. What do you want to be different for
Different in style and design? Apple.
Different in the speed of delivery? Domino’s Pizza.
Different in the experience? Nike Mega Stores.
Different in ingredients/features? Whole Foods.
Different in prices? Amazon.
Different in human and environmental values? Panasonic.
Let’s simplify it one step further.
To define your unique selling proposition, you need:
A specific market and niche.
A specific customer with specific wants and needs.
A clear understanding of the competition.
A unique and specific offer.
Let’s put those four ingredients into a simple formula.
“For a specific kind of customer who is looking for a specific kind of XYZ service, I offer them XYZ solution, which is unlike other businesses that offer XYZ solution.” Put it in other words, “for him/her, I offer that.” does not get any simpler!
Now here is the catch, and why most small businesses get it wrong, you always start from a vision and story, then build a business model and a team to deliver that story and promise, not the other way around, let me explain to you what I mean by that:
Apple promise: Own the most beautifully designed and simplified products ↦ “Let’s hire the best designers on earth!”
McDonald’s promise: Get your burger in less than 30 seconds every time, everywhere, the same quality guaranteed! ↦ “Let’s build the most efficient process and systems on earth.”
Amazon promise: Get your goods delivered to your place in 2 hours ↦ “Let’s build the fastest and most advanced distribution technology in the U.S.”
You get the point, it’s unlike a lot of small business when they try to mash all things together then come up with a promise that can not be delivered.
If you want to say we deliver the best shopping experience, then you must be willing to hire the best customer service and salespeople, train them well, and pay them well for ultimate performance.
Please, please, please make sure that your “USP” is not something that you say, it’s something that your customers need to feel, go through, and experience.
Words to avoid:
Here are a few words to avoid while communicating your unique selling proposition to your audience:
The best, the cheapest, the fastest, the …, try to avoid those words as much as possible because they are generic and not specific enough.
Why do you think that the 99¢ store is very appealing to a lot of people? They could just call it the cheapest store you will ever find… but why instead they decided to call it the 99¢ or the $1 store? Think about that for a second, let it sink in!
Why does domino’s pizza say we offer pizza in less than 30 minutes or free? They could say we offer the fastest pizza delivery.
Domino’s Pizza Less Than 30 Minutes Or Free
Because the “THE …” formula is vague, fastest, cheapest, most durable, are pretty subjective, and they only work in comparison, It’s difficult for the ordinary to picture or imagine what do you mean by the fastest pizza delivery on earth?
How fast is the fastest? Are you going to deliver it by a jet or transmit it through space and time? If I have guests coming to my house and I need it in less than 20 mins? Do you deliver in 20 mins? Why not, I thought you were the fastest?
Therefore always be specific with your offer and set the right expectation; remember your “USP” is not about impressing your customers and wowing them; keep that for the customer’s experience. Instead, it’s about clarifying to the right person the right offer and expectation.
How do you crush your competitors’ unique selling proposition:
Take a sheet of paper and write the top three competitors in your niche.
– Write the top 3 features of their products. – Write the top 3 features of your competitor’s products.
We want to take those features and turn them into stories.
The story script will be like this:
(Our dear customers, for your knowledge, our competitors offer you XYZ Product with XYZ Feature “it’s better to focus on communicating one feature at a time.”
The result of that product is an unpleasant XYZ experience “you must understand your customer frustrations,” and here are the XYZ reasons why they failed you ….. “Explain why.”
However, we made it our first priority to serve you right; we worked hard to come up with a reliable, effective, efficient, and pleasant solution, here how it works.
Our XYZ product with XYZ features delivers XYZ benefits, which are made especially for your comfort and convenience, here is why you should pick us over the others “talk them into the difference between your product and the competition, show them visual proofs and facts of before and after results of your product versus your competition.”
Let’s look at a simple example:
For working and overweight moms, with low-income less than 25k/year, who are looking to lose a few extra pounds, gain back her self-confidence and feel attractive.
I will provide an effective step-by-step workout system that guides her to lose 10 pounds in 3 months with a cost of less than $10 a month, unlike other solutions that make big promises, charge high fees, and do not deliver results.
Notice that I did not define what type of product it’s, I’m talking about a solution that transforms an overweight with a low-income mom who is looking for a solution to become more attractive and gain self-confidence. It could be anything, a video course, a mobile phone app, or whatever they find to be suitable.
Specific Customer + Problem | Working & overweight mom → Product & Services (Solution) | Step-by-step workout system.
Pains | E.g. No time → Pains Relievers | 30 minutes a day.
Gains | E.g. Fit body → Gains Creators | Lose 10 pounds in 3 months.
If you are still scratching your head and not getting it yet, it’s okay, it took me a while to nail it down; I got your back.
Watch the following video as I explain step by step on how to create a unique selling proposition, I wanted you first to go through the article so you could have a basic understanding, then enforce it through the following video, hope you enjoy it!
How to craft a unique selling proposition.
Keep the guide bellow by your side as a quick reminder when it comes to crafting your unique selling proposition.
Once you get your product unique selling proposition locked in place, now you are ready to sell your product to your customer through your marketing message, here is how:
first, identify if you are selling to a customer with a logical state of mind or an emotional state of mind, a person who is looking for a solution that solves a specific functional problem, such as a swimming watch, and needs it to perform specifically within a specific environment and come with specific features.
Will differs from a customer looking for a product that enhances his social image or wants to send a gift, such as a luxury or a stylish watch.
The first looks for competitiveness and performance, the second desire to impress and express prestige.
Each of the previous states of mind might share the same customer’s mind, but within two different situations and decision-making mechanisms, each requires different languages to be highlighted and communicated to each state depending on your customer’s current wants and desires.
While the first situation requires you to highlight the technical features of the product and their impact on the overall quality of the performance, the second needs to be communicated through the quality of craftsmanship, the scarcity of materials, the uniqueness and individuality of design, and the appreciation of the brand values and its social perception.
If you fall into the mistake of focusing your pitch on the emotional aspect when you have to be logical or vice verse, you put your marketing message at the risk of losing the customer since it shifts the focus from your customers’ major objectives and concerns.
Once you are clear about your customer’s primary concerns and objectives, then you can develop a pitch that rings beautifully to their ears and meets their self-interest.
In order to teach you how to pitch your product first, I have to talk to you about three concepts that most newbie entrepreneurs get mixed with and devalue their marketing effort, which makes them end with very little to no sales.
Before you pitch your product first, get to understand your product’s key features, benefits, and advantages, then use each to communicate a specific point that meets your customer’s primary concerns.
Here are quick explanations and examples of each:
Product Features: the physical or tangible characteristics of a product.
Take, for example, a mobile phone such as an iPhone, it has many features, some of the most important ones are:
12 Mega-pixel Camera
5.5 Inch Screen Display
3174 mAH Lithium-ion Battery
512 Giga-bytes storage space
These features are very technical but important for a tech-savvy customer, someone who is always looking for different phone comparisons, and the best up-to-date features, they rely on such data to make a buying decision.
However, such information is not understandable to the average customer since they can’t relate or make meaning of such info. Try to picture an average customer looking at a marketing message that says a 12-megapixel camera.
his thinking might be:
What do you mean by a 12-megapixel camera?
How does this 12-megapixel camera improve my pictures?
Does it turn me into a professional photographer or what?
Taking this insight into consideration, you should realize that only presenting your product features will make it so much harder for the ordinary customer to make a buying decision.
They will compare your product to other competitive products on features and price, fall into analysis by paralysis, probably give up or ignore your product, then head to YouTube, search for some expert reviews and buy whatever product the reviewer is sponsoring or affiliate with.
Most of the newbie entrepreneurs fall into the mistake of selling the features of the product rather than its benefits. By now, that should not be you.
Product Benefits: the effect and the end results of your product features, put it in other words, what does your product do for the customer, and how can it tangibly improve their lives and make it more efficient, healthy, effective, or beautiful.
let’s go back to our phone example and translate the features into benefits:
Feature: 12-megapixel camera.
Benefit: take high-quality sharp images of your family, your dog, your holiday trips, or whatever catches your eyes, this high-resolution camera will allow you to print your beautiful memories on A3 posters or display on TV large screens.
Feature: 5.5-inch screen display.
Benefit: bring your favorite movies and games to life on vivid and ultra-realistic colors edge to edge wide display.
Feature: 3174 mAH lithium-ion battery.
Benefits: watch your favorite movies and play your favorite songs for 12 hours non-stop.
Feature: 512 giga-bytes storage space.
Benefits: 100000 pictures, 10000 music tracks, 100 movies all in your pocket.
So that was a simple example of how to take your product’s feature and convert them into relatable and understandable benefits to the ordinary customer.
Of course, you have to refine your copy and make it as beautifully written and clear as possible; I recommend working with a freelance professional copywriter on Upwork or Fiverr to take your product features and craft them into engaging, desirable, and beautiful sales copy.
consider it as an investment rather than a cost.
Product Advantages: once you have your product with the most important features and benefits clear and presentable, you will need to justify the value of your product to the customer through its functional and social advantages.
Let’s look at our iPhone example:
Social and Emotional Advantages: the perception of having an iPhone makes you look smarter, more elegant, more creative, and in some countries makes you look wealthier and more sophisticated than the other person.
Functional Advantages: the usability of the iPhone IOS makes you work more efficiently and smarter than the users of other phones and operating systems.
Apple always makes sure that its products cover both the emotional aspect which has to do with the sense of beauty, creativity, individuality, and premium social status and the logical aspect which has to do with the quality of the component and how they enhance the performance of the user.
Keep in mind that different products have different selling points, some people love to visit or buy from some stores because of the location of the store, others because of the overall mood and design of the store, some because of the quality of the product, and others because of the legacy of the brand heritage and story.
It’s your job as the brand owner is to find out why people love to buy your products in the first place, then massively and outrageously double down your effort on promoting those aspects of your business to your customers.
Always remember that the concept of your unique selling proposition is not to develop a pitch or follow a script, rather it’s about what makes you unique in the first place.
Generic businesses don’t require a unique selling proposition because they are generic and they compete on price differentiation, rather than offer differentiation.
When you craft your brand pitch or selling story, focus on using simple, concrete, and visually attractive images or video footages to communicate the overall quality of your brand experience such as your brand values, the reason behind starting your brand, your brand atmosphere, your customer’s service, and how your brand qualitatively and quantitively is better than your competition.
In other words, show them through beautiful visuals, facts, and numbers the effect of your solution on the improvement of their life both emotionally and functionally.
To get better at refining your marketing pitch, here is a little exercise for you:
Write down the most important problem, frustration or conflict, your product or service solves.
Write down the most pleasurable experience your product or service offers.
Write down your product 3 most major features.
Write down 2 critical benefits your customers care about most of each of the major features.
Write down the functional, emotional, and social advantages of owning your product.
How does your product differ from the competition? Can you provide facts and proven results?
What is the overall experience of your brand? How does your brand make me feel in terms of style, mood, and service?
What are the three primary objectives your customers might have regarding your product or services? Think of this question as a Q&A section on your website’s sales page.
Do you have any credible assets such as social proofs, rewards, partnerships, and brand heritage?
Those are some aspects that you can highlight in your marketing message think of them as a recipe that combines different elements work together to influence a customer into buying your product, the ratio of each element depends on the type of customer and their main concerns, always remember to talk your customer language, not yours.
Okay, so now that we have reached the end of this article it’s time for me to remind you of the big picture which is what is the purpose of the unique selling proposition.
By now you should know that the purpose of the unique selling proposition is to highlight your business strength and communicate it clearly through a marketing message to a specific customer.
This message will take out all the noise, misunderstanding, and frustration from your customer’s mind and send them the signal that they are looking for.
To make things simpler on you always remember this simple formula:
” For XYZ group of people, I provide XYZ service that delivers XYZ results.”
Keep in mind that most of your customers don’t care about your business if it’s the biggest, fastest, or whatever you like to call it;
they only care about what in it for them, therefore as a business owner you got to know what are your customers’ core wants and needs, then attempt to develop product and solutions that meet those needs and communicate it to them, consistently and effectivity.
That’s it, End of story.