Unique Selling Proposition




If you’ve been the recipient of any marketing advice over the last decade or so you’ll no doubt have been told that you can’t possibly succeed without defining your “Unique Selling Proposition”.

The concept was pioneered by advertising legend Rosser Reeves in the 1940s. Reeves’ belief was that each advert should have a USP which:

• Highlighted a specific and real benefit to the consumer of buying the product

• Was one the competition could not or did not have

• Was so strong it could “move the masses” to buy your product

There’s a lot to like about this concept.

It can be a powerful and succinct way of communicating with your clients – but unfortunately, since Reeves’ day, it’s been mangled and misapplied repeatedly.

Note the order in which Reeves describes his points – start with benefits, then uniqueness.

Unfortunately, the very phrase “Unique Selling Proposition” tends to lead gym and studio owners to start off thinking internally about what’s unique about them rather than thinking externally about the value or benefit they bring to clients.

If you start by focusing on what’s different about you, you frequently end up with a proposition that just doesn’t resonate with clients.

I prefer the phrase Value Proposition to USP. It forces you to think first about the value you bring – and then second about how it’s different from what others do.

If you build a good understanding of the clients you wish to work with as we recommend, then you should have a good idea of what your clients’/prospects main problems and opportunities are.

What frustrates them, what excites them, what keeps them up at night?

That’ll help you to flesh out the value and the end results they’ll get from addressing those issues.

And it’ll guide you in describing the value you deliver and what your proposition is.

Only then do you go on to think about how you’re different and better than your competition?

And to be frank, if you’ve done a great job of identifying the real value you can deliver to your clients then that can often be a huge differentiator in its own right as so few of your competitors will have done it.

Here's a Practical Example that we've probably all seen…

Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed

Most examples you’ll see of good Value Propositions or USPs are taken from the consumer goods world…

Domino’s original “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed” for example.
It’s much less common to see a professional services example – so here’s some food for thought.

Take a look at Mazuma Money – https://www.mazumamoney.co.uk/. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a low-cost accountancy service.

What they’ve actually done is to really understand their core customer base: the (very) small business market who just want to get rid of the hassle of bookkeeping.

It’s not just low cost – it’s hassle-free – and that’s very important.

Now for sure, they’re not the only accountancy firm that can do “hassle-free accountancy”.

Just as Domino’s wasn’t the only pizza delivery place that could deliver in 30 mins.

But the key is that they’ve focused their entire business around this value proposition.

(That was actually the key for Dominoes too. Despite what most marketing “experts” tell you, Domino’s USP of fast delivery was hardly unique.

But what they did was identify something a good chunk of their customer base valued, and they focused their marketing on it in a way that none of their competitors did.

And they backed it up with a guarantee.

Mazuma has geared its primary service around its value proposition.

They’ve aligned their branding and their messaging.

Everything is infused with “low cost, hassle-free”.

They’ve abandoned the traditional “prim and proper” accountancy branding to create an image that feels “easy to do business with.

For anyone who’s in that position of not wanting to deal with the pain of accounts – but also not wanting to pay someone a fortune to deal with it for them – their message really resonates.

They don’t talk about all the clever reports they’ll do for you to give you “strategic insight”.

They don’t talk about saving you tax or about partnering with you.

They don’t pretend to be a “full-service provider” with a huge list of services that aren’t of interest to their core customer base.

All that “nice to have” fluff that actually dilutes their message has been discarded.

They just talk about simplifying your life by putting your receipts and invoices into an envelope and sending it to them.

Now sure, if you navigate around their website you can find other services they offer. But they don’t push them – that would weaken their core message.

Want a fitness-related example?

OK, here we go, one from the archives…

Bill Phillips Body For Life Program

Unique Selling Proposition – Bill Phillips Body For Life Program

Back in the day I was a huge fan of Bill Phillips Body For Life Program.

I recently did a Google Search on him and apart from the fact I was a little shocked at “the work” it looks like he has had done (it looks like he has had a few nips and tucks!!), I see following "Body For Life" he created another program called ‘The Transformation Solution'

This I believe will help clarify your understanding of what an effective USP in the fitness industry looks like so you can construct your own.

I particularly like his quote in the last sentence of Step #3 where he says…

“This part of the program is what makes The Transformation Solution Program completely different than any diet you may have tried in the past.”

I believe it gives a clear explanation of why the prospect should choose Bill’s solution over his competition.

P90X and Insanity are other great examples of fitness businesses that have strong USP’s or Value Propositions.

You need to train yourself to be on the lookout for “Value Propositions” when reading the competition’s sales copy.

Get good at pinpointing their “Value Propositions” – it will help you immensely in crafting and refining your own so it gets great results for you.

So here’s an exercise for you:

If you think about the needs of your absolute ideal clients – the things that are really important to them.

And if you stripped away all the rest – all the nice to have, the additional services, the extra things you list on your website that they might need…

What would you be left with?

And if you focused your marketing only on promoting those core areas of value to your ideal clients – do you think it would be stronger?

I’m betting it might well be.

About the author, Andrew Wallis

From two decades in the corporate world to finding my freedom in fitness, I'm known as Braveheart—a Personal Trainer turned marketing maestro for Fitness Professionals. I'm all about unlocking potential and empowering Fit Pros to grow their businesses. 'Finding Your Freedom' isn't just a mantra; it's a collective journey I embark upon with my clients.

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