Is your USP really NOT a USP?

You’ve heard about creating your killer “USP” right? That’s your unique selling proposition.

It’s a statement of what sets you apart from the competition (if there is any), or what makes your thing a “must have” item for a certain market.

Most people will say their product (or business) is amazing, scientifically proven, etc. Those descriptions are NOT a USP, however.

Here’s a way to know you DO NOT have a unique selling proposition:

If anyone else can (or does) say what you say about their business, then you have no unique selling proposition.

Assignment: Think of something that is unique about your business or product, or something that makes it “must have” for a certain market. After each attempt, ask yourself: can (or does) someone else say this about theirs, too?

If yes, keep on trying. Anything someone else can say about theirs, means your selling proposition is NOT unique.

P.S. This is NOT easy. But when you have a few real USP options, your marketing job is transformed from you pushing it, to others seeking it.

P.P.S. This is the first assignment for folks registered in the Haystack Telecourse starting Feb 20).

If you like these tips, sign up for the free RSS feed here. Learn about RSS here.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • A good USP doesn’t deal with the features of your product or service it deals with the benefits to the consumer and entices them to ask you for more information at that point you can give them your elevator speech and go into more detal because you have tantilized them with your USP.

    My USP is

    “Better Health, More Wealth, Lifestyles by Design”.

    Juliette Gray – Center For Harmonious Living

  • Hi Juliette –

    Nice USP. question: can someone else say that about their thing?

    If so, it isn’t unique. What do you think?

    Also, one guy says the USP should “create tension, desire and urgency” in the reader’s mind. That’s harder still.

  • Hey Kim I’ll do some early homework for the Haystack class.

    I market a whole food multi that helps us get good nutrition in two capsules a day. It’s not the same as eating fruits and veggies because the fiber has been removed to make more room for the really good stuff.

    I’m still learning so please be gentle.


  • The second part is the most unique piece of information there – fruit and veggie nutrients WITHOUT the fiber – so there’s more room for the good stuff.

    That’s pretty unique.

    Now, how to make it something that gives the reader a sense of urgency to have it…hehehe

  • Hi Kim,

    I have been seriously working on the USP for almost two years for one of my businesses. It is not a slogan, tagline, oneline elevator speech, or easy.

    As you said, it is unique, (not just uncommon).Also, it needs to be short and concise.

    I still don’t have it. It has helped me come up with a good slogan and a good one-liner elevator speech like Juliette suggested.

    It’s all good though. Also like Juliette stated; if it is benefit focused, then you are getting much closer than most.

    Where’s my thinking cap,
    Tom Doiron

  • Kim & Robin,

    How about this?

    I market, Fruit & Veggie Capsules nutrients WITHOUT fiber so there’s more room for the good stuff, whole food concentrates the closest thing we’ve discovered to a “fountain of youth” for anti aging and regeneration.” Do you know anybody who might like to know about a product like that?

    Vicky Taylor
    Be Your Own Boss

  • Ok Kim, I’ll take a stab at this. But in order to explain my ‘Unique Selling Proposition’, I’ve got to use words that a 13 year old wouldn’t use, so this will have some seller talk. But in this case is that ok? I mean, this is called a SELLING proposition, right? So here goes:

    I run a homebased business with a company that has developed a NEW category in health & nutrition based on Quantum Physics, called Quantumceuticals. These products are truly unique with multiple patents and meet the needs of a global market. Do you know anyone who might be interested in products like these or a business like this?

    This might be too much of a mouthful for me to say in a one on one conversation, but would it be appropriate for print?

    Thanks in advance, Kim, for your feedback!

    Achiever Karen

  • Hi Karen:

    Good start.

    It does need to be words a 13 year old understands, unless you are marketing to people who already know that jargon. I don’t like the term USP, but it describes best what we all want to put out there, so I used it in this post.

    However, that is directed at us, the sales people. Not the customers.

    So you need words others understand.

    Second, it needs to be about the other person, rather than about the company product. People don’t care how great we think we are or how great we think our science is. They want to know why they should get it.

    Try again.


    This IS the process.

  • How’s this, Kim?

    I run a homebased business with a company that has developed a NEW category in health & nutrition based on energy that the cells in our body use quickly. These products allow you to take the bad stuff out, put the good stuff in, and do it fast and powerfully. Do you know anyone who might be interested in products like these, or a business like this?

    Achiever Karen

  • Hi Karen:

    Getting better…

    You write: “a company that has developed a NEW category in health & nutrition based on energy that the cells in our body use quickly.”

    This means little to anyone else – it’s all about your company and its great new category of product. You will need to be more specific about what the product is designed to do for someone, or what it has done for you, to catch someone’s attention.

    Imagine sitting with your favorite aunt or grandma. Then how would you talk about this? About how it helped you?

Leave a Comment