Your Sales Letter & The USP

A great sales letter can stand between you and a small fortune. By getting the content, tone and sales pitch right you could open up a whole new world of customers. But writing the perfect sales letter isn’t easy.

In my post Copywriting – The Sales Letter I talked about the mechanics of the sales letter and its 3 main components – the headline, the offer and the call to action,

These elements are vital but there is something missing – your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). I came across this post recently written by Jonathan Young of Decodefy: What’s Your Unique Selling Proposition? Have a read, perhaps it will help identify your products USP’s and in turn strengthen your sales letter.

What’s your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

Also known as the unique selling position or unique sales position, the USP is often one of the most misunderstood elements of a good sales letter. It’s what separates your product or service from your competitors. Let’s take a quick look at some unique selling propositions for a product itself:

Lowest Price

If you’ve got the corner marketed on budget prices, flaunt it. Tesco has made this USP famous lately, but it’s not new to them. In fact, selling for cheaper has been around as long as capitalism itself. Personally, I’m not crazy about price wars, because someone can always come along and sell for cheaper. Then it’s time for a new strategy…

Superior Quality

If it outperforms your competitor’s product or is made with higher quality materials, it’s a good bet that you could use this fact to your advantage. For example, compare Ben & Jerry’s to their competitor’s. From the packaging to the wholesome superior ingredients, the quality is evident. It may cost a little more than their competitor’s ice cream, but for their market, it sells.

Superior Service

If you offer superior service over your competitor’s, people will buy from you instead. This is especially true with certain markets that are all about service: long-distance, Internet service providers, satellite television, etc.

Exclusive Rights

My favorite! If you can legitimately claim that your product is protected by a patent or copyright, licensing agreement, etc., then you have a winner for exclusive rights. If you have a patent, even the Queen must buy it from you.

Ok, what if your product or service is no different than your competitor’s? I would disagree, because there are always differences. The trick is to turn them into a positive advantage for you. You want to put your “best foot forward.” So what can we do in this scenario?

One way is to present something that your company has devised internally that no other company does. Look, there’s a reason why computer store “A” offers to beat their competitor’s price for the same product by X%. If you look closely, the two packages are never exactly the same.

Company “B” offers a free scanner, while company “A” offers a free printer. Or some other difference. They are comparing apples to oranges. So unless you find a company with the exact same package (you won’t…they’ve seen to that), you won’t be able to cash in.

But what if you truly have the same product for sale as the guy up the road?

Unless your prospect knows the inner workings of both your and your competitor’s product, including the manufacturing process, customer service, and everything in-between, then you have a little potential creative licensing here. But you must be truthful.

For example, if I tell my readers that my product is bathed in steam to ensure purity and cleanliness (like the cans and bottles in most beer manufacturing processes), it doesn’t matter that Joe’s Beer up the road does the same thing. That fact that Joe doesn’t advertise this fact makes it a USP in your prospect’s eyes.

Want some more USP examples?

  • We are the only car repair shop that will buy your car if you are not 100 percent satisfied with our work.
  • Delivered in 30 minutes or it’s on us!
  • No other furniture company will pay for your shipping.
  • Our recipe is so secret, only three people in the world know it!

As with most ways to boost copy response, research is the key with your USP. Sometimes your USP is obvious, for example if you have a patent. Other times you must do a little legwork to discover it (or shape it to your target market).

Here’s where a little persistence and in-person selling really pays off. Let me give you an example to illustrate what I mean:

Suppose your company sells beanbag chairs for kids. So you, being the wise marketer that you are, decide to sell these beanbags in person to prospects before writing your copy. After completing twenty different pitches for your product, you discover that 75 percent of those you visited asked if the chair would eventually leak.

Since the chairs are for kids, it’s only logical that parents would be concerned about their youngster jumping on it, rolling on it, and doing all things possible to break the seam and “spill the beans.”

So when you write your copy, you make sure you address that issue: “You can rest assure that our super-strong beanbag chairs are triple-stitched for guaranteed leak-proof performance. No other company will make this guarantee about their beanbag chairs!”

Now, get to work and start creating your, soon-to-be, world famous USP.

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#1 Paul Simister on 07.15.09 at 10:51 am

I’m giving a lot of thought and attention to the concepts of USP, emotional selling proposition and customer value proposition at the moment because I’m updating my coaching program.

Low Price is a very dangerous thing to base your business on unless you have a huge cost advantage.

I’m not too sure about how effective Tesco are in using price Sally since I think I saw that Asda had won the lowest priced supermarket award for something like the 12th consecutive year.

I would also urge people to be specific.

What does “best quality” or “best service” mean?

Unfortunately to dubious and sceptical prospective buyers, they just sound like meaningless marketing platitudes.

I have literally just finished my own blog explaining what I see the link between the USP and the customer value proposition (if anyone is interested, the link on my name takes you to it).

A clear USP is important.

It will help you to
1 – attract more prospects
2 – convert prospects into customers
3 – encourage repeat purchases
4 – make you easy to refer to others

Why? Because the customers are very clear on why they are buying from you and the reasons are stronger than convenience or a cheap deal.

But for customers to be clear on why they buy, it has to start with you being clear on why they should buy.

Longer comment than intended but hey ho…

#2 admin on 07.15.09 at 11:05 am

Hi Paul, You can write as long a comments as you like! It’s always nice to hear from you 🙂


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