DON’T lead with your best Unique Selling Point (plus one quick question)

19th May 2015

A large company recently chose me to be their keynote speaker at their global conference.

Because I didn’t tell them my Unique Selling Point (USP). Here’s what happened…

Them: We’re looking at a number of speakers for our event. You’ve been recommended to us. Make your pitch. Why should we hire you? What’s your USP?

…Me: I don’t know.

Them: What? We need to know your USP, so we can choose between you and the other speakers. What do you mean you don’t know what it is?

…Me: Well, it depends on what you want your audience to do as a result of attending the conference. If we could explore that first, I’ll then be able to tell you whether I can help you achieve that. And, if so, what my best, most relevant USP is, to prove I can.

We then had a peer-to-peer conversation about their conference, their hopes and aspirations for it. What they wanted it to achieve for their business. And for them personally.

It turned out that I could help them. So I told them about other companies I’d spoken for – ones who’d had similar needs – and the results they’d got as a result of my keynote. I explained how I’d helped them, the value it had brought, and what they’d learned with me. I then gave them a couple of relevant USPs about my ability to do the same for them.

They chose me as their speaker.   The reason they gave me?  “Because you didn’t tell us your best USP”.

When you think about it, this approach is the more sensible way to sell something. Unless you know the other person’s agenda, your ‘best’ selling points might not align with it. I’ve seen…

… A PR company talk about their USP of building long-term relationships – to the organisers of a weekend-long event

… A global company focusing on their USP of a map of their global offices – to a company who only trades in the UK

… Loads of companies bang on about the fact they were founded in year X – to companies who (believe this if you can) don’t care how old they are

And the best way to find what someone’s most interested in hearing from you?

Ask them.

You’ll both be glad you did.

Two Action Points

#1 Please use the tip

You’ll have to sell something today – yourself, your company, your idea…

… So, do everything you can to find their agenda first, before deciding what your best selling points are.

#2 Please answer the question

Last week, I mentioned I’m running my first open masterclass for 10+ years.

It will show you the best, simplest ways to master the two things every business needs – to:

  1. Open doors – to get in front of the people you want to impress/persuade choose you – potential customers, your boss, decision makers, key influencers, etc; and
  2. Close deals – to persuade them to do what you want

Because of the need for both, I’m organising a full-day masterclass with marketing legend, Drayton Bird.

He’ll be speaking in the morning, sharing how to open doors (he’s done this with pretty much every major organisation in the world, from helping British Airways to Virgin Wines to Peppa Pig!) I learn from Drayton every time I hear him speak.

I’ll then be speaking in the afternoon, showing how to close deals.

It’ll be taking place in October-ish. Please could you hit reply and tell me…

What are your biggest challenges, that you’d advise we cover in our masterclass?

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