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Unique, Selling and Proposition


Disciplines > Sales > Sales articles > Unique, Selling and Proposition

Definition | Uniqueness | Discussion | See also


The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of a product is a statement or short paragraph that describes why customers should buy your product.

To buy a product, customers want to know first that it provides the benefit of solving key problems, and also that your products are most suited to their needs.

There should be a USP for everything you sell.


The key USP word is 'unique'. It tells your customers why they should buy from you and not your competitors. It should make you stand out and appear attractive when compared with your competitors.

Common dimensions of uniqueness include:

  • Functionality: Things the product does
  • Usability: Ease of learning and operational use
  • Performance: Speed of operation of product
  • Reliability: Lower probability of failure
  • Range: Number of products to cover differing needs
  • Setup: Help in installation and teaching
  • Service: Help and support during normal operation
  • Guarantee: Free support level and duration after sales
  • Stability: Longevity and customer focus of company

Many USPs are boring because they provide little in the way of uniqueness when people substitute functionality or benefits rather than true and value-creating uniqueness.


The purpose of the USP is to help you sell. If it does not do this, then either the USP is wrong or it is being used incorrectly. A common problem is that the USP tries to be all things to all people and ends up too vague or too long. It has to make sense. Another good test is whether sales people actually use it. USPs may be created by marketing folks, but their real use is in selling. The best way of developing a USP is with a combination of both marketing and sales people working together.


The 'proposition' part of the USP indicates the benefits that it should lead to action, although few USPs actually include this explicitly, as this could detract from the customer-focused nature of the statement. Try taking the position of the customer. What does your USP say to you? Do you see it as a proposal? Might you act on it? Or does it just seem like more sales blurb?


Just thinking about and developing USPs can be a highly illuminating experience as it forces you to think about the product both from the viewpoint of the customer and also in comparison with your competitors.

To do this well requires significant research, at least as much as your most thorough customer will put into researching products and suppliers.

See also

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)


Sales Books

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