Coronavirus Winter Part 3: USP and Guarantee
Welcome to the third in a series of four posts designed to help your coaching clients make it through the last surge of the Coronavirus pandemic. In today’s post, we’ll explore how a solid USP and guarantee can help your clients pick up market share as competitors flounder.
In our first post in this series, we explored the trajectory of the Coronavirus pandemic and why it’s important to help your coaching clients get through the winter. In our second, we dove into a problem that many businesses struggle with—negative cashflow.
Today, we’re going to look at market position, and why periods of disruption and economic downturn are the perfect time for your business coaching clients to sharpen their messaging and re-evaluate their market position so that they can pick up market share as their competitors struggle.
And they do this with one of the most powerful business messaging tools on the planet: a USP and guarantee.
What’s a USP and Guarantee?
A USP and guarantee is a persuasive value proposition that removes risk and compels your ideal customers to do business with you, instead of your competitors, because you’re different from all the rest.
What’s more, in order to stay on the leading edge of the industry and to capture more and more market share, your clients should re-evaluate their USP and guarantee regularly.
Let’s take a look at something called the Diffusion of Innovation Theory, using a well-known example: the smartphone.
Whenever a new technology or idea comes to market, a small group of innovators—about 2.5% of the population—will take it on and give it a try. As time goes on and the innovators help R&D departments work out the bugs, early adopters begin jumping in, about 13.5%. Then, as momentum builds, the early majority (about 34%) gets on board, then the late majority (another 34%), and last of all, the laggards, who wait until it becomes almost impossible to ignore the trends.
You can see how this played out with the smartphone in the chart above.
Here’s the thing. If you want to be profitable, you want to be on the left side of the innovation curve.
Because by the time you get to the right side of the curve, the product has become “commoditized.” At this point, price pressure gets intense, margins get tiny, and you’re competing for scraps in a crowded marketplace.
If you want to be profitable, you want to be on the left side of the innovation curve. Why? Because by the time you get to the right side of the curve, the product has become "commoditized." At this point, price pressure gets intense, margins get tiny, and you're competing for scraps in a crowded marketplace.
The most effective companies learn how to reinvent themselves and keep innovating—so that they can stay on the right side of the curve (or I guess I should say the “left” side, in this case!).
Help Your Clients Educate Their Target Market
In order to do this effectively, your clients need to get good at educating their target market.
That’s because once a product or service gets to the right side of the curve, everybody knows what it is, why it works, and why they need it. On the other hand, making the case to early adopters requires skillful communication.
A solid USP and guarantee will help your clients do just that.
First, you need to help your clients find the unique selling proposition that puts them on the left side of the curve. The iPhone is a great example of this. Apple billed it as the combination of three products—a mobile phone, an iPod/digital music player with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device.
But they did more than just create the iPhone.
They clearly communicated the ways in which it would transform the digital landscape.
Steve Jobs called it a “magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” They promised that you could make calls simply by pointing at a name or number. They said you’d be able to take pictures, sync photos, and consume digital media with a flick of the finger. They painted a picture of how you’d be able to access the entire internet, once available primarily on desktop computers, from a device in your pocket.
They promised a revolution—and they delivered on that promise.
Remove Risk through a Guarantee
It’s clear that a USP, and the effective communication of the USP, are critical to staying on the left side of the innovation curve.
So where does having a guarantee come in?
Asking customers to be early adopters means asking them to take a risk on an unproven product or service.
Yes, the left side of the curve is where the money is, but it’s also where the barriers to entry are highest for your clients’ target audiences.
Therefore, encourage your clients to develop a guarantee that lowers the barrier to entry.
In some cases, a guarantee in and of itself can put you on the left side of the innovation curve!
We did this with a web design company we coached a while back. While web design isn’t exactly a new product or service, we worked with them to create an unparalleled guarantee that is basically unheard of in the industry: namely, that clients would be happy with their website, that they would receive top rankings in the search engines, and that they would get ongoing high-quality traffic and content, or they could request a full refund.
Now, they were able to offer this because they really did deliver great work that got results. The quality was indisputably there.
And here’s the kicker:
The guarantee was powerful enough to put them in a class by themselves in an otherwise overloaded marketplace!
And it worked.
After rolling out this guarantee, they generated $14,400 from just one ad over the course of six weeks—when before, they hadn’t made a single sale from their old ad content.
I mean, see for yourself the difference between typical ad content, and one infused with this kind of guarantee:
Come on, when you need a new website built, who are you going to choose?
As the winter drags on, take this opportunity to help your clients create a killer USP and guarantee. This way, they’ll be able to reposition themselves in the marketplace and capture more and more market share—now and in the future!
Other posts in this series: