How Are You Different From Your Competitors?

The meaning of U.S.P. is ‘Unique Selling Proposition.’

The USP method echoes an important question: “What differentiates your product or service from related products, services and even businesses as a whole?”

After constantly battling my puns using other approved USP models, NYK Daily created it’s own – a list of 25 questions that gave us the same results, but more efficiently.

First, select a competitor who’s either your equal or pretty close to your level. Even if you sell apples, be careful in choosing your comparison. A Gala apple is different from a Red Delicious. Even though both are a snack, each tastes and cooks differently. If you think there aren’t any matches, be open – somewhere out there is a perfect match.

Second, collect whatever product information is available – print or electronic. Lay the matter out in single sheets for clear viewing. I like to colour code each set of USP characteristics using good old highlighters. For instance, yellow for features, blue for the benefits.

Later, when I’m ready to compare the competitor’s apples to mine, I use the abbreviations S and D for “same” or “different”.

Poorly recorded material does generate low quality results in an analysis. If this happens, note their limitations and choose another player. Later, use this error list as a checklist against your own created material.

If you are a new player, select a competitor with lesser than two years of experience in business or one with the same number of selling products – otherwise, you will have to crumble under “measurement stress.” Measurement stress pleases the internal critic but it strongly tests your focus, energy, and commitment.

Third, answer the following questions to create a list of their Unique Selling Points:

  1. How long have they been an enterprise?
  2. Where is the result on the maturity line? Is it a brand-new product, old, or someplace in-between?
  3. Are there any business tales they tell? What type of the story is it and how do they use it?
  4. What is the extent of their business? What are the benefits or disadvantages to their extent?
  5. Highlight all the product’s advantages.
  6. What product myths do they use? How and when do they use them?
  7. Identify and list the specialties the product offers.
  8. What characteristics are least relevant to the buyer?
  9. What characteristics may be assumed to be there but are not stated?
  10. How is each characteristic used by the buyer?
  11. Why would buyers see the feature as desirable? Examine one by one.
  12. What is their price?
  13. Where is this price in line with other similar products in the marketplace?
  14. What emotional needs/desires does the product meet?
  15. What customer physical needs or desires does their product meet? Even services meet some needs and desires.
  16. Does the product sell better at different times of the year? If so, when, where, and why?
  17. Does the competitor have an office? Any advantages to that location? How about their website location or domain name advantages? Disadvantages?
  18. Where are they advertising the product? Find and keep copies on file.
  19. Do they have a media kit? Obtain a copy.
  20. What are the product’s demographics?
  21. What type of customer care services do they offer?
  22. Do they offer any special type of advice?
  23. What is the guarantee or warranty for the product?
  24. How does the product get into their customers hands?
  25. How fast do they fulfil their orders?

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