One of the more common complaints I hear among business owners is how tough the competition is and how it’s getting tougher every day. The reality is that competition will never disappear; however, there are several effective strategies that can reduce the competition’s influence on your business

In this article, I’ll focus on two of the most fundamental approaches: Defining your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and having a written Guarantee. Unique Value Proposition - this is also referred to as a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Many use the terms synonymously. Personally, I like the term “value” vs. “selling”, because at the end of the day, the reason your customers buy from you is the overall value you provide, not just what product/service you are selling.

To really define what a UVP is, it’s useful to break down the phrase and define each word: Unique - Refers to the characteristics of your product or service that distinguish you from as many of your competitors as possible. It’s the “what you do” and “how you do it” that clearly differentiates your product/service.

Value – It defines what your customers get for their money or the intrinsic worth of your offering to your customers. It’s also important to note that value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and what we think our customers value may be completely different from what they really value.

Proposition – It’s your factual and truthful proposal to your customer. Being able to qualify and quantify your claims is critical and makes your UVP that much stronger! In sum, your UVP is a distinct offer to your target market in which they get more than they give up (as perceived by them, of course) in relationship to other alternatives, which may include buying nothing at all.

While having a UVP may seem obvious, it’s amazing how many businesses truly don’t have a UVP, or if they do, they clearly don’t communicate it to their target market. If your UVP needs some updating (or if you don’t have one at all), then it’s time to do some market research. You need to know what your customers (and prospective customers) value, why they value it, and what result it achieves for them.

One effective approach is to sit down and talk to ten of your top customers. Ask them why they buy from you and what makes you different from your competition. They will give you your UVP (but in their words) and will likely provide reasons and insights you never knew or expected. Additionally, competitive research can also complement and refine some of the information you receive from your top customers and help you better define your UVP.

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