I’ve always had a problem with that business cliche, USP (Unique Selling Point). It creates this illusion that every business needs to have ‘a thing’, some sort of ‘novelty’ or ‘quirk’ that makes them ‘different’.
It’s one of the hardest questions to answer because what actually makes you unique is rarely ‘a thing’.
That’s why U is for Unique in my A to Z of Blogging.
When I hear people say things like, “well, I’m a female in a male-dominated sector,” or “I have X,Y and Z qualifiactions,” my first thought is ‘so what’.
Why is that important?
Why would I care about that if I were your customer?
Does it actually matter, or make any difference?
Having something ‘different’ about your business, by definition, means it actually needs to make a difference, otherwise, what’s the point?
USP’s in this sense is meaningless. It doesn’t matter. All you’re doing is giving us some trite answer that doesn’t really tell the story. It doesn’t give anyone a picture of who YOU really are. You’re ticking the ‘USP’ box on a meaningless form!
It’s also a cliche to say, “what makes me different is ME” – while it’s true (most cliches are), again it doesn’t tell the full story.
Your uniqueness is also true of everyone, we can all say we are unique, that’s the nature of human existence.
What does Unique actually mean for your business?
We want to know why X business is different from Y business when on the face of it they seem to do the same thing. (Look out for X,Y & Z in the rest of this A to Z series)
The only thing you can absolutely, 100% guarantee, that’s unique about your business is YOU. And the thing that makes you YOU is your STORY.
No two people’s stories are ever the same. Even twins will remember different impacts on their lives, moments of joy and moments of despair. If you ever recount a childhood memory with a sibling, they will probably remember something different to you, because we all have different ways of perceiving things.
A truly compelling story will provoke an emotional reaction from us.
Whether the story makes us laugh, makes us cry, makes us empathise and feel as though the storyteller is speaking directly to our own hearts – if we react, we act.
A good story has a character, an action and a resolution. A great story has heroes and villains, it has conflict, it has us rooting for the hero, it has thrills and spills. It’s cheesy, but it has a happy ending, where our protagonist improves or grows themselves in some way (beat the bad guys, save the world).
The story of your business is not just a sequence of events that got you from idea to market. Customers want to know what’s at the heart of your business.
What compels you?
Did something send you down the path you find yourself on and where are you going from here?
Was there a single inciting incident somewhere in your past that motivated, inspired, scared or encouraged you?
That’s the story of your business. Told chapter by chapter on your blog.
Draw in the curious, start a conversation and build the relationship. Give them reasons to choose you and your unique approach, instead of an alternative service.
After all, people don’t just buy people, they buy stories.
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