Creating a Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Helping Customers Decide with a UVPIn an earlier post I talked about the The Power of the UVP. Hopefully that got your interest piqued and you’re ready to jump in and create your own Unique Value Proposition.

A few things first. Here is what a UVP is NOT:

A Unique Value Proposition is NOT a slogan.

A Unique Value Proposition is NOT a positioning statement.

A Unique Value Proposition is NOT filled with insider jargon and acronyms.

A Unique Value Proposition is NOT a Mission Statement or Vision Statement.

Simply put, a Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a clearly stated benefit that your potential customers will obtain from buying your products.

For example:

We will have your groceries hand-picked by our well-trained staff and delivered to your door within 5 hours of your online or phone-in order being completed or it’s free.

What does this UVP do? First, it clearly states the benefits a customer will gain versus going with one of your competitors (provided they don’t offer something better). It’s measureable (was my order delivered within 5 hours?) and it includes a guarantee (delivered in 5 hours or it’s free).

How to know if your UVP is weak.

The best way to know if you have a weak Unique Value Proposition is to read it out loud and then ask yourself – “So what?”.

For example – “We’re the best plumbers in Oklahoma! Call Us Today!” – does that sound like a statement that’s going to have your phone ringing off the hook? When you ask yourself “So What” after reading that, do you have an answer?

Now try this: Need a plumber in Oklahoma City? Our plumbers are fully-licensed and will be at your house at the appointed time (no more 3 hour windows!) or your service charge is waived.

Now ask – So What? Well – if I call for a plumber I know I won’t have to take a half-day off from work so I can wait to see if they’ll show up. Plus, if they DON’T show up on time, I can actually benefit a little bit because they’ll waive their service charge. There’s a clear benefit to choosing this plumber over others in the same service area.

Also – avoid superlatives like “Best” or “Amazing”, etc. Bottom line is, if everyone can say it, everyone probably is and therefore the statements are meaningless to the customers that are trying to choose your company over another. So instead of “Best Pizza in NYC” prove it with “5-Star Rated on Yelp 3 Years Running for Best Deep Dish”. That tells your customers what to expect BEFORE they make their choice – so if they’re looking for the best deep dish pizza in NYC, they’re coming your way.

Exercises to Help You Write Your Unique Value Proposition

This exercise should not be done in a bubble, all by yourself. Even if you’re a sole proprietor you should try to get others involved as you develop your UVP.

Ask Your Clients – Ask them why they chose to work with you. What factors did they use when making their choice? How many other competitors did they review before choosing you?

Ask Your Team – Sometimes your company’s strengths are better identified by the people who work for your company. What puts a smile on the faces of your employees? What benefits do THEY feel they provide your customers?

Check Out Your Competition – What are they saying about their company? When you go to their websites and ask “So what?” what is your answer? What benefits are they touting on their site? How will a customer view them over your company?

Ask Yourself – whether you’re the Marketing Director or the CEO, write down what you THINK your UVP is and then compare it to what your Customers and Employees say. Are they similar? Where do they differ? When you compare the feedback from different sources you may find that the benefits you actually deliver go beyond your original intentions.

Key Take-Aways

Just remember, once you’re done creating your Unique Value Proposition, make sure it follows these criteria:

1) It should be easy to understand in 5 seconds or less

2) It should not contain any inside acronyms or jargon (even if it’s industry jargon – don’t assume every potential customer speaks the same jargon)

3) Compare it to your competitors. Is it better, the same or worse? Strive to be better than your competition. If your offer is on-par with the competition, then it’s just luck that will bring your customers in your doors.

4) Make sure it communicates the value and results of your products and how it will benefit your customers.