Whether you’re building a career in business, helping a family member turning his/her side hustle into a success, or trying to find support for a good cause: learning how to sell is one of the most valuable skills one can have.
And it starts with selling points.
Selling points are arguments used to persuade someone to buy. Unique Selling Points (often referred to as USP’s) are the selling points that set you apart from your competition. USP’s give your target audience a reason to buy from you, instead of someone else.
In this article you’ll learn how to optimise your selling points, making them more effective.
What if there’s little about your service or product that differentiates you from competitors? It doesn’t mean your reputation can’t be unique. Customers are often less informed than yourself, something which you can use to your advantage.
Let’s say you work for Hotel X in Amsterdam and you’re tasked to make sure people book their rooms. You’ve identified five selling points:
- The hotel is located near the city center.
- The staff is friendly.
- The hotel has a rooftop bar.
- The rooms are cleaned daily.
- Breakfast is included.
Let’s get to work!
The 3 why’s: Sell benefits, not features.
Features (like the five listed above) help us compare products and services, and are great for rational decision making.
However, although we like to think of ourselves as rational beings, we’re actually emotional decision makers. The numbers proof it: features sell, but (emotional) benefits sell better.
To determine your selling points, take all features and pair them with benefits. Even better if it’s an emotional benefit, enabling the target audience to create a sentimental bond with the product or service you’re selling.
You can find this benefit by asking your customers what they deem to be important (this is the feature), and why (this is the benefit). In fact, you want to ask your customers ‘why?’ three times or more.
The hotel is located near the city center.
Why is this important to you?
Because I want to be close to the attractions I am interested in.
Why is this important to you?
Because it saves me from the hassle of arranging transportation.
Why is this important to you?
Because I want to experience the best of the city without having to stress over how to get there.
Experience all that is good in Amsterdam without having to stress how to get there.
Now your selling points might look somewhat like this:
- Experience all that is good in Amsterdam without having to stress how to get there. Hotel X is located on walking distance from Amsterdam’s most beautiful attractions.
- You’ll feel right at home from the moment you check in. Our staff is ready to welcome you and help you on your way.
- Enjoy your favourite drink and meet interesting people from all around the world while enjoying the view from our rooftop bar.
- Wrap yourself in fresh Egyptian linen and sleep like a baby, so you’ll be able to start each new day with a smile.
- Enjoy a hearty breakfast of choice and get ready for the day ahead, without having to worry about the bill. Breakfast is included.
After you’ve paired all features with customer benefits, it’s time for the next and final step.
Selling points don’t add up, they average out.
Intuition tells us: more arguments make a stronger case.
However, often this is not the case: psychologically, weaker arguments tend to decrease the impact of stronger arguments.
Arguments (and selling points) don’t add up, they average out.
Let’s have another look at the five selling points we’ve identified, and their likelihood to persuade someone to book Hotel X.
This likelihood is determined by two factors:
- How important the benefit is from the guest’s perspective.
- Whether the benefit is differentiating Hotel X from the competition, seen from the guest’s perspective.
Selling point 1: The location near the city center is a ‘must’ for the guest and the most important decision driver. There are only a few hotels in the area within the price range of the guest with available rooms. Persuasion power: 5.
Selling point 2: It’s important to the guest the staff is friendly and helpful, but most other hotels claim to offer the same. Persuasion power: 3.
Selling point 3: The guest wasn’t necessarily aware they wanted to stay at a place with a rooftop bar, but now that they think about it, they would love to meet other travelers and a rooftop bar is a great meeting place. None of the other hotels in the area offer a rooftop bar. Persuasion power: 4.
Selling point 4: A clean room is important for the guest, but other hotels in the area claim to offer the same. Therefore, this is an expectation, but not a major decision driver. Persuasion power: 2.
Selling point 5: The guest loves the convenient option of having free breakfast at the hotel. Only a few hotels at this price point in the area offer the same. Persuasion power: 4.
As selling points average out, using all five selling points will have you end up with a persuasion score of 3.8 (5 + 3 + 4 + 3 + 4 / 5).
It’ll likely be more powerful to use the three strongest selling points (which averages out to a persuasion score of 4.3) or just the single best selling point (persuasion score of 5.0), when advertising Hotel X.
The attention span of a Goldfish.
You’ll have a lot to tell, but your audience doesn’t have the attention span to listen to the full story.
An additional benefit of advertising fewer selling points, is that it’ll help your audience memorize the message you’re trying to get across.
People pay limited attention to ads, so your message must be clear, concise, and repeated often.
Let selling points do the heavy lifting.
Learning how to sell has the potential to put more money in your pocket, and get more support for your cause. Being able to express the right selling points is the first step to persuade someone to buy from you.
Make your sales efforts and advertising dollars go further by pairing features with benefits, and limit yourself to the strongest selling points.
Try it out!