A picture may be worth a 1000 words. But one sentence can say more about your business than you think. What’s your unique selling proposition? A good USP is the fastest way to get your message out to your ideal clients.
Do you ever wonder how so many businesses compete successfully in crowded spaces? Especially when many of them sell the same products or services.
Take, for instance, Saddleback Leather. This leather bag company inspires engagement and curiosity in its customers. Its slogan?
“They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.”
This message is compelling, straightforward… and just a little bit shocking. It says that a Saddleback Leather bag is a genuine object of desire. One that will hold its value for years, even decades.
Another interesting USP comes from Mast Brothers. This craft chocolate company makes everything by hand. Their USP speaks to a precise audience and does a great job of highlighting Mast Brothers’ advantages.
“We’re from the 18th century, back when craftspeople were revered and took pride in working with their hands.”
This USP speaks volumes to those who want special treats. And it has helped the company gain great success.
In any industry, you must market yourself well. It’s no different with accounting. Your USP won’t make or break your firm. But it can give you a unique edge over your competition and help you find ideal clients to grow your business.
What Is a USP?
Think of your USP as something that defines your practice as unique and better than your competition. It’s a characteristic or benefit of your services that helps you stand out. A solid USP needs to be assertive, yet defensible.
It should demonstrate why your accounting firm is VITAL. Your USP is much more than a simple slogan. Think of a line that satisfies your target audience and plays to your firm’s strengths.
Not everyone has a firm grasp of the USP and what it stands for. Don’t confuse your firm’s USP with a marketing offer. Although discounts and 24/7 service can be compelling features, they are not unique selling propositions.
So, how do you create a strong core USP that sets you apart? Most propositions have a general template that any business can follow. But it takes something special to make them unique.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help.
Tip #1 – Establish a Specialism/Niche
The first thing on your mind should be carving out your marketing niche. To really provide value to clients, you need to become an expert in solving their problems. Your accounting firm has to excel at more than just compliance work. In fact, we think it’s so important to decide the right positioning that we call it a marketing and sales superpower.
By having a niche, you will have an easier time engaging the ideal audience for your firm. It will also allow you to target more high-end prospects and avoid dealing with vampire clients. Too many accounting firms use the same generic marketing approach.
This type of strategy means that many companies never reach their full potential.
With an established speciality or niche, you can improve your understanding of unique problems. You can provide better solutions. And you’ll be in a better position to highlight what makes your services VITAL and unique.
Tip #2 – Understand Your Client’s Pain Better Than They Understand It Themselves
After defining your niche, it’s time to do client research. Identify your ideal target audience and understand their pain points. Find out what services you should provide to satisfy their needs.
This is essential when creating a core USP for three reasons.
- More client knowledge helps build a stronger message
- Knowing client pain points better than the client shows expertise and builds trust
- Understanding your client allows you to devise a unique approach
A strong core USP can help tremendously in growing your accounting firm. It can help you secure better clients faster. And it can allow you to charge more than your competitors, because you offer a VITAL service.
Another critical aspect of USP design is being able to demonstrate your expertise and insight into your client’s business.
Tip #3 – Focus on the Benefits of Your Product (Not the Features)
To create a solid USP, it’s essential to showcase the distinctive benefits of your product or service. Make a list – but only to a maximum of five. Because this is a short proposition, not a pitch.
Identify what differentiates your practice from the competition? What unique benefits do you provide? Learn to discern between benefits and features.
Here is a simple way of separating the two terms.
Features are surface statements. They indicate what your service can provide, what it costs, etc. Benefits, on the other hand, showcase the end result. Benefits show what your firm’s services can accomplish and how that serves the client.
In other words, if you have VITAL accountants in your practice, highlight their results.
Take the following example.
Say that your practice specialises in international taxation and regulations. You can state that you are the best-qualified to handle international invoices. Or that you can deal with any online payment platform.
Your biggest benefit might be that your firm saves your clients more money on deductions and expenses. You know how to navigate those complex financial operations that cross international borders. So your clients can relax, knowing that their affairs are in competent hands.
Tip #4 – Check On Your Competitors (And Think About How You Can Do Things Differently)
A great core USP needs a lot of market research. You have to understand what your competition offers. Pick five similar accounting firms and evaluate their offerings and USPs.
To differentiate yourself, you need a proposition that stands out. It should promise a unique solution or approach. Sometimes it’s not about making your USP memorable, but rather instantly relatable.
Look at what your competitors do well and what they fail to accomplish.
To devise a compelling USP, try approaching things differently than your competitors. If they fail to satisfy particular needs, address those needs more efficiently. Then highlight that in your proposition.
If you spot a high demand for a particular set of services that only you offer, highlight those services. Make them your primary offering and leverage that in your USP.
Again, it’s essential to understand the common pain points in your niche. What are your clients lacking? Are they not getting enough attention? Do they need a unique skill set from their accountants?
If so, you can figure out a way to dedicate more time to that niche or clientele. Or you may work more on your resource management. Outclass your competitors by freeing up more time for issues that they don’t want to address.
A good USP can help you fight off cheaper offerings without cutting your prices. It all depends on how well you understand the pain points in your niche. And how well you’re equipped to deal with those specific issues.
Tip #5 – Create Your Promise
There is a general template you can use to draft a USP. Consider the following key points when writing your USP.
- Indicate the target audience
- Offer your firm as a solution
- Present the unique offering
When indicating your target audience, be specific. Mention the type of client and talk about the pain points you can solve. Then present your company as the only one qualified to address those issues.
Why is it the only one?
Now introduce your unique benefits – the hook that separates you from your competitors. Keep in mind that USPs are not lengthy. You need to get creative with your writing and express a lot with very few words.
The catchiest core USPs in any industry are short and impactful. Showcase your confidence and unique problem-solving method… All without having to write a short story to make your point.
Your USP Is Your First Introduction to Potential Clients
How you define and compose your USP shows how you do business. Your USP should reflect the VITAL qualities of your accounting practice. And address how these qualities will benefit your clients.
No one ever said that coming up with an unforgettable USP was easy.
However, the tips presented here should help you come up with a strong message in a few words. Always be sure that you can back up your claims, as most clients want instant gratification.
Having a firm understanding of your client’s pain points is one of the most critical elements in designing a USP. So is understanding what your competition offers and what needs they fail to meet.
This knowledge can give you a significant edge in establishing a VITAL accounting practice. And in how you express your unique approach to your ideal clients.
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