U.S.P., in marketing, is the acronym for unique sellingproposition. This is asking, "What distinguishes you fromsimilar products or services, even businesses as a whole?"

After using the USP method to uncover the uniqueness of myproducts and services, I continued to find them difficult toname. Because of this, I developed a list of 50 easy-to-answer questions to help me get through the process quickly.[Please allow product and service to mean the same thing forsimplicity sake in this article.

First, select an equal playing competitor. If not equal,choose one that is as closely matched as possible. Even ifyou are selling apples, be careful on the choice ofcharacteristics. A Granny Smith apple is different from aWinesap apple. Both are consumed by similar markets butthey have much different uses in cooking. Be mindfullyopen, somewhere there is a similar apple -- guaranteed.

Second, gather all their product information. Lay thematerial before you, make a list of the features andbenefits. Read and compared line-by-line if needed. I liketo use the abbreviation’s S and D (similar/different). Ifyou didn’t come up with anything or your list is small, thatis okay, this happens to me a lot. Your mind isn’t seeingthem. The questions below will build on your list andexpand your view.

If you offer a new service, match target markets, and selectone that is less than two years ahead of your success. Iftheir product is too far ahead, you will suffer from"measurement stress". This will please your inner criticbut test your passion and sabotage your commitment.

After you have completed whatever list you could do, usethese questions to continue expanding:

1. Make a list of their product benefits?

2. What are the benefits your product offers?

3. Identify the features they have that you don't have?

4. Identify the features that you have? Compare.

5. What features are better in their product.

6. What features are better in yours?

7. Why are they better (from a buyers perspective)?

8. What is their price?

9. What is your price?

10. Why is your price different?

11. What emotional needs/desires does your product meet?

12. What physical needs/desires does your product meet?

13. Does your product sell better at different times of theyear? And if so, why?

14. Are any of your competitors local? If so, where arethey?

15. What is the size of your competitor’s business?

16. Where is this competitor marketing? Find their ads,always keep them in your file.

17. What age and gender are they marketing to? Is the sameas yours?

18. What income level are they marketing to? What are youmarketing to?

19. What type of customer care do they offer? Research andfind out.

20. What type of customer care are you going to offer?What’s different about your customer care or how can it be?

21. Do you offer a special type of advice that they don't?If so, what?

22. If you offer confidentiality, in what ways do you offerthis?

23. How is your confidentiality different than yourcompetitors? Or is it the same?

24. How fast does your competitor fulfill orders?

25. What type of answers do they have for their product?Do they offer a FAQ (frequently asked question page)?

26. How fast do they answer questions? Submit one and findout.

27. Do they offer a range of payment methods or are theylimited? What will be yours?

28. What is their customer service policy? Write yours andknow the difference.

29. How many ways can people contact them?

30. What are their "availability" hours?

31. Do they offer product discounts? What are their breakpoints?

32. How do they ship? Is it fr*ee or discounted in someway?

33. Do they offer value-added incentives? This could be inthe form of complimentary documentation or time,newsletters, or other items. What can you offer that isbetter?

34. Do they offer gifts? Are they special or common? Whatdo customers have to purchase to get them?

35. Create a list of unique, customer valued gifts, thatyou might use make theirs eat dust?

36. What special skills do their employees offer? What areyours?

37. Does their staff have some special type of training?Do you or can you get?

38. What makes you excited about selling this product?

39. How long have they been in business? Where are they onthe product maturity line? Where are you?

40. If you haven't been in business as long, can youexplain your quick success?

41. What do customers say about them? What do yours say?Similar is good but unique statements help more.

42. What statistics do you have on your product that youcan use to show your uniqueness?

43. Do they have any celebrity endorsements? You can youget that is already known by your customers?

44. How many ways does the product change people lifestyles or mindset?

45. How long does their product last by the customer? Andyours?

46. Where is the product in the trend line with customers?

47. How frequently does your competitor introduce somethingnew in order to stay on the cutting edge? And you?

48. How fast can they get their product to their customers?Can you do better?

49. Were they the first in developing this product? Howlong ago was that? Do you have newness as an advantage?

50. Location can be a key. Where is your office ordistribution house located? Can you create more than onelocation? Do they have other locations?

Always remember, everyone wants to eat at restaurants thathave the most cars in the parking lot? Customers trust thatif other people are eating there, they must have good foodand service. Your answers to these questions will help keepyour parking lot full.

Author's Bio: 

About the Author
Catherine is a veteran entrepreneur and communicationsmaster coach. Additional articles, newsletters, workshops, and other information is available at: http://www.abundancecenter.com
blog: http://abundance.blogs.com