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4 Steps to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition

Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is the unique thing that you can offer that your competitors cannot. It is your competitive edge and the reason why customers buy from you.

USPs have helped many companies succeed. And they can help you too when you are marketing yourself (when seeking a promotion, finding a new job, asking for a salary raise, or transitioning to a new industry.) If you don’t articulate your USP, you might struggle for survival – that way lies in hard work and little reward.

However, USPs are often difficult to find. And as soon as one candidate establishes a successful USP in a market, competitors rush to copy it.

In this article, we will explore how you can use USP analysis to help you find your competitive edge. Further, we will think about how you will defend it.

1.Understand the Characteristics That Companies Value

First, brainstorm what companies value about your services and those of your competitors. Move beyond the basics common to all suppliers in the industry. Look at the criteria that candidates use to decide which candidates to engage.

As with all brainstorming, by involving knowledgeable people in the process, you will improve the process. So talk to your colleagues in your current company, particularly the top-performing ones, friends in similar industries, search for industry job descriptions online, and the like. Be as creative as you can. 

2. Rank Yourself and Your Competitors by These Criteria

Now, identify your top competitors. Being as objective as you can, score yourself and each of your competitors out of 10 for each characteristic. Where possible, base your scores on objective data. Where this is impossible, do your best to see things from a company’s perspective and then make your best guess.

3. Identify Where You Rank Well

Plot these points on a graph. Plotting this will help you spot different competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. From this, develop a simple, easily communicated statement of your USP. A good tool in this is the 30-second elevator speech. An elevator speech simply means if you are in an elevator with someone, and you want to communicate within 30-seconds. In this case, you would communicate your unique selling point identifying how you compete against others within 30-seconds. 

4. Preserve Your USP (and use it!)

The final step is to make sure that you can defend your USP. You can be sure that as soon as you start to promote a USP, your competitors will do what they can to do the same. As an example, if you’ve got the best education, certificate, experience, or soft skills, someone would exceed you. It makes sense to invest to keep it. That way, competitors will struggle to keep up: by the time they’ve improved, you’ve already moved on to the next stage. Maintaining your USP means continuous improvement- getting that certificate, enhancing your education, working on more assignments or volunteer opportunities, or training yourself to improve your soft skills.

Furthermore, once you’ve established a USP, communicate it! Promote yourself to companies by applying, networking, sending your CV, or speaking about it to your employer.

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