The Smart Way to Answer, “Why Should I Buy from You?”

This post by Brenda Do,

Posted in Advertising, Communications, Customer Relations, E-Commerce, Economic Development, Marketing


The Smart Way to Answer, “Why Should I Buy from You?”

If your ideal customer walked up to you and asked, “Why should I buy from you instead of the other guy?” Can you give a compelling answer in ten words or less?

That’s what a unique selling proposition (USP) does. Sometimes, it’s called the unique selling position. In a nutshell, a well-written USP does two important things:

  • Helps differentiate you from your competitors
  • Pulls your prospect into the desired action (click on your PPC, sign up for newsletters, visit website, etc)

Ideally, you should interweave your unique selling proposition into all of your sales and marketing materials. So when a prospect has a need, they know exactly why you’re the best solution for them.

An effective USP is NOT your tagline or slogan

What many businesses do is confuse their tagline or slogan with their USP. They use them interchangeably, ending up with ineffective one-liners like this:

  • “Powering customer relationships”
  • The leader in email marketing”
  • “Solutions from the ground up”

They may sound clever, but they don’t help the prospect understand why they should work with you.

To illustrate, let’s look at the first example above: “Powering customer relationships.” After seeing that, my brain goes through a series of thoughts like this:

          What are you powering it with?…Whose relationship are you powering? Mine or my customer’s?…I don’t
want power, I want answers to my nagging problems…Forget it, these guys aren’t for me.

Your prospect may not think exactly like that, but chances are, they want answers and they don’t have much time or patience to find them. Or they’re comparing several competitors against you. So you want to make sure your USP grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more about you.

To do that, an effective USP must contain these 3 elements:

  1. Appeal
  2. Exclusivity
  3. Credibility

Appeal: Your relevance in comparison to what your prospects want.

Simply stated, what’s your prospect’s main concern? Such as: product reliability, 24/7 support, ease of use, flexible payment plans, or industry experience. To know what your prospects really want, ask – never assume.

For an accurate answer, get out there and ask existing clients, your sales people, and prospects. Once you have it, draft a USP that addresses their overriding concern. Then you’re ready to add the second element of an effective USP…

Exclusivity: Can someone else match or beat your offer?

By addressing their main concern, you captured your prospect’s attention. It’s time to amp it up a bit by showing why you’re the best person to solve their issue. You can do this by using distinguishing words like:

  • Only
  • Fastest
  • Best
  • Largest

Or use offers like:

  • Order by 2pm, delivery by 3pm
  • Bottom-of-the-bottle guarantee
  • 7,698 parts in stock
  • Unlimited, on-site training

Be sure your offer addresses your prospect’s main concern. For the most impact, make sure your offer can’t be matched by anyone else.

One more thing, did you notice how we used specific numbers in the above offers? We’ve mentioned in previous posts how specificity sells. This brings us to the third element of an effective USP…

Credibility: How do you quantify your claims?

When I ask a client what makes them different, I often hear, “We really care about our customers.” I believe them. But that’s not enough.

Because most companies make claims generalized, fluffy claims like that. They are so common, they have as much impact as pouring a glass of water into a full swimming pool.

Fluff doesn’t sell. Specifics do. To avoid fluffy, lifeless claims, use the exclusivity words, but…

Don’t say:

  • “Best customer service”
  • “Lowest priced plans”
  • “Largest selection in town”

Do say:

  • Dedicated support specialist 24/7
  • Plans start at $4/month
  • 50,357 parts in stock

To fire up your creativity, here are a few strong USP’s

The world’s #1, on-demand business software
6612+ customers worldwide…and still growing!

Progressive Insurance
#1 auto insurance website for 2010 – Keynote® Systems

180+ channels, commercial-free music

Download your free USP worksheet

You can have one USP for the company, and one for each product or service. Effective USP’s aren’t born out of a boardroom, they’re pretty much dictated by your customers. So after you and your team brainstorm a few strong contenders, test them to see if they get the reaction you want.

To make the process easier, you can download a free Unique Selling Proposition worksheet stepping you through the creation and testing process here: How to Create Your Unique Selling Proposition


Brenda Do is a freelance, direct-response copywriter in Reno, NV and President of BL Copywriting, LLC. Contact her at: or 775-223-3637.

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