Today I want to talk about a tool that can help you narrow in on your ideal customer and sell to them more easily + effectively:
the unique value proposition
Have you heard of this before? Some people also call this the unique sales proposition, but either way at it’s core the unique value proposition (or UVP) describes what you do, make, or sell ... while focusing on the value you are delivering to your target customer. In essence, the UVP is the reason your customer is going to buy from YOU, instead of aaaaaaaanyone else out there who is offering the same/similar thing you are.
Your UVP helps explain the difference between:
- Running a landscaping company, vs. running a landscaping company tailored to the environmentally-conscious homeowner.
- Offering accounting services, vs. offering accounting services to solopreneurs getting their footing running a new business.
- Selling handmade purses, vs. selling functional, sturdy handbags for moms who don’t want to sacrifice style for function
Your UVP should help customers understand instantly if your product or service is the right fit for them, and why. It should speak to their pain points, desires, and needs rather than the physical “thing” you are offering (landscaping services, accounting advice, or a purse). Your UVP speaks to the value you are providing to your customer, and not necessarily the physical thing you’re selling! Take a look at the above examples. None of them focus on the “thing”, but rather the lifestyle + preferences of the target customer:
- Someone who cares about the health of the planet and is willing to spend a little extra to hire a professional who can make their yard look awesome without harmful chemicals
- An overwhelmed new business owner who is looking for bookkeeping help along with some coaching, advice, and insight
- The fashion-conscious woman who is willing to spend a little extra to look chic, despite needing to cart around a bag full of baby equipment
You’re selling health, you’re selling time savings + sanity, you’re selling beauty along with your product. Your UVP helps you narrow in on WHY someone is going to buy your WHAT. Your WHAT is the easy part...the WHY is a little more tricky!
If you’re launching a new business or trying to become more profitable with your existing business, I would definitely recommend you spend the time to hone in on your UVP. This simple tool is something you’re going to come back to again and again as your business evolves. Think of it almost like a mission statement for how you plan to make sales … it’s the key to connecting with your ideal customer and making your business more profitable.
" Your UVP helps you narrow in on WHY someone is going to buy your WHAT. "
Creating an effective unique value proposition will help you do a few things for you + your business:
1. Focus on value-add products and services.
No more weird one-off products or service offerings you’re not sure will sell. Thanks to your UVP, you understand exactly who your customer is and what problem you’re solving for them or desire you’re fulfilling. Are you the budget landscaper for new homeowners, OR the eco-landscaper for crunchy gardeners? Two totally different target markets, two totally different opportunities to add value to unique types of customers. Depending on which market you’re focusing on, your offerings will be uniquely tailored to meet those needs and add value in different ways.
2. Narrow your focus.
You’ve probably heard that you need to narrow in on a “niche”, and that you cannot be all things to all people. A niche helps you connect with your customer because when they come across your product or service it will speak to them as though this thing was built JUST for them. This makes selling easier, because you are spending less time convincing your customer that your product is right for them...they will know it's right for them instantly, because it’s so obvious your UVP is speaking exactly to them.
I could go to Angie’s List or the Yellow Pages right now and find 50 different landscapers, but how many of them are focused on using native plantings + organic fertilizers for the environmentally-minded customer? The UVP sets you apart and helps you connect with customers who are willing to pay for YOUR specific service because it provides value to them and speaks to their specific preferences and values.
3. Reach YOUR audience.
I touched on this with #2...once you narrow your focus and identify your audience, it becomes much, much easier to reach them and sell to them. You’re no longer all over the place trying to be all things to all people...you’re laser-focused on providing value to the people who are more than willing to pay money to have their problems solved and needs met (and not just buy some random product/service...but by YOU!).
You’ll also know where to find these people. You’ll know exactly who you’re looking for, so you won’t waste time trying to sell your eco-landscaping services to a first-time homeowner who is DIY’ing their yard work to save up for home repairs. You can focus your marketing efforts on reaching the people who are ready and willing to buy for you...they're waiting for you to show up so they can give you their dollars and be wow'ed by you!
4. Sell effectively + sell more
When your product or service speaks to the right customer, at the right time, in the right way...you won’t have to convince them to buy from you. They will be signing up on their own, because they instantly know they’ve found the thing that is solving their unique problem or meeting their specific need.
It’s like the difference between getting a $1 cheeseburger from McDonald’s vs. a gourmet grass-fed bison burger with aged cheddar and caramelized onions. There is definitely a time and a place for each in life, but the value you’re providing is totally different in the two different scenarios (cheap + quick vs. delicious + indulgent).
There is space for different types of landscapers, accountants, seamstresses, bakers, small business coaches, painters, and tattoo artists out there because there are different types of customers out there, with different needs. Find your people + sell to THEM, and quit wasting your time with the wrong customer!
5. Make your competition irrelevant.
The UVP is not about your competition. UVP is about the value you’re providing to your ideal customer. Your UVP is going to help you speak to that customer in such a way that they wouldn’t ever think to look at your competition, because you are satisfying their EXACT need and speaking DIRECTLY to them in a way your competition cannot.
" You want customers who buy from you, are blown away by how awesome you are, and then keep coming back again and again for more "
I’m not saying this will guarantee that people will only buy from you, but the UVP helps attract the type of customers who will love you and get enormous value from what you’re selling...and it will help weed out everyone else. If you’ve ever dealt with an unhappy customer or had to refund someone’s money, you’ll get my point here. People end up unhappy and wanting a refund when their expectations weren’t met, and when there is a mismatch between what they expected out of your service, and what was delivered. That means they were NOT the right fit for you! These are not the types of customers you want. You want customers who buy from you, are blown away by how awesome you are, and then keep coming back again and again for more (repeat customers).
If you’re providing real, meaningful value to customers + clients, then your competition is irrelevant because you’re meeting their needs and making them happy. Don’t worry so much about how you can do things better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors...that is a recipe for disaster because those things are based on OPINION, and not subjective. Focus instead on what makes YOU unique and how you’re delivering VALUE to your ideal customer and then go to town! When you’re delivering real value, price does not matter.
" When you're delivering real value, price does not matter. "
You get to focus on your awesome customers, and stop worrying about your competitors. You’re no longer competing on price or racing to the bottom, you’re serving YOUR tribe and focused on leveling up and providing deep, lasting value.
That’s pretty cool!
OK, hopefully you’re getting on board with me here on why you need a unique value proposition, and what it can do for your business. Is this starting to gel a little bit?
Before you go download the guide at the bottom of this post and start working on your UVP, I want to talk about what exactly you’re going to DO with your UVP once you’ve written it. I have six places that I want you to use your UVP to help you focus in on what’s going to help your business grow + profit, by attracting the right kinds of customers who are ready and willing to buy from you! These six places are:
- Business Plan
- Social Media accounts
- In-person events (can be online or physically in-person)
- Mission statement + company values
- Sales materials (any collateral you use in your sales process)
Ideally, your UVP should be reflected in all of the above. Every touchpoint that you have with potential customers should speak to your UVP! Whether your customer finds you via Instagram, or a newsletter blast to your e-mail list, sees your booth at a farmers market, or comes across your website via a Google search...you need to make sure your UVP is reflected in all these channels and you are presenting a cohesive front.
" Every touchpoint that you have with potential customers should speak to your UVP! "
Your UVP is reflected by more than just words and messaging, but also by your branding...which could include colors, fonts, your logo, your physical appearance, and any other visual or sensory messages that come across when customers interact with you or your business.
When you’re building your UVP, think not only about what your UVP is, but how you’re going to communicate that unique value proposition to customers.
Alright, are you ready to get to work writing your UVP!?
I put together a guide for creating a unique value proposition for your business, including a helpful diagram to help you start honing in on your business’s UVP. Go grab a copy and spend some time putting together a UVP for your business!
Do you have a UVP for your business? How do you plan to use your UVP to provide value to your customers? Let me know what's on your mind in the comments!