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What’s Your USP?


Differentiation. In a market crowded with staffing companies vying for attention, what can you do that will separate and distinguish your company from the competition? How can you insure that when the customer picks up the phone to call for staffing assistance, it is your company’s name that will be foremost in his mind?

One way to move you towards that goal is to create a USP. A USP or Unique Selling Proposition is a concise and memorable statement that powerfully describes the unique value of your company. It creates interest and excitement in the mind of the prospect.

Having an effective USP will set you apart from other staffing services and will allow that differentiation to single your company out as something special. McDonald’s used a Unique Selling Proposition offering low prices, consistency, and cleanliness to help them build a worldwide corporation and identity. Nordstrom has a USP of extraordinary service that sets them apart in the high end of retail department store sales. In staffing, Robert Half successfully built their business using the USP that they were the staffing company to call when you needed experienced accounting people. I actually know of a situation in which a company had an exclusive volume purchasing contract with one staffing service, but used Robert Half to find their accounting temporaries (at much higher margins). The USP created and implemented by Robert Half really worked.


The benefits to you of a well-crafted USP are many:

    • You really can separate your company from other staffing services.
    • With top-of-mind awareness, the client will call you first.
  • Price becomes less important to the customer than the value received from your service.*
  • You can stop selling price and capitalize on that perceived value with better margins.*
  • Profits will go up.

* If your USP involves being the lowest price supplier (like Wal-Mart for example), increased volume can be your principal benefit.


This toolkit contains:

  • An Action Plan
  • A USP preparation worksheet
  • A list of sample USP’s
  • An Implementation Plan for making the most of your USP

Action Plan

If you intend to create a Unique Selling Proposition that will truly set you apart, you need staff involvement. To make this exercise work, your staff must believe this concept has some benefit to them personally. It’s a classic case of WIIFM. (“What’s In It For Me?”)

You might try this suggestion to get staff buy-in: what would be the value to them if a well-designed and carefully implemented USP made it much easier to attract and retain customers? The right USP can do that, but it has to be a USP that everyone really believes is true.

Pass out copies of the USP preparation worksheet and ask each participant to review it and think about the issues it covers. Each person needs to complete the questions without collaboration with one another. You might even suggest that each participant fill out the worksheet and then go back to it again a few days later to review and refine their answers. Once you’ve collected each person’s submittal, you can examine their responses and begin to pull together the foundation for your USP.

You might want to hold a meeting to discuss those features that the majority of your staff considers essential to your Unique Selling Proposition. This meeting could be an ideal time to reach agreement on the final wording.

Once your USP is finished, there are two remaining steps for completing this idea:

  1. Read your Unique Selling Proposition to your staff. Ask them to “prove it.” Challenge each person to explain why and how this statement represents your company. For example, if your company claims to have the fastest response time, you need to be able to provide substantiation to any customer who asks you to prove it. In this example, surveys of your customers could give you the proof you need. Being able to “prove it” sets you apart from your competitors who often use boastful statements and unsubstantiated claims. If your staff is unable to support any part of your USP, you need to rethink and reword what you’ve created. Every person in your company must believe that Unique Selling Proposition and be able to stand behind whatever claim it makes.
  2. It’s now time to initiate the USP you’ve just created.

Implementation Plan

Once your Unique Selling Proposition has been created and is supported wholeheartedly by your staff, it’s time to make the most of it.

Your USP needs to become synonymous with the name of your company. To accomplish this:

Step 1: Have your USP appear on your printed material whenever possible. Include it on your stationery, all of your marketing materials, envelopes, and time sheets; even your invoices should display your USP.

Step 2: Have your USP printed on any advertising specialties you use as giveaways like caps, shirts or coffee cups.

Step 3: Include your USP in a prominent position on your website so it is easily seen by all who visit.

Step 4: Have it appear in any signage used to advertise your company.

Step 5: Be certain every person in your company knows your USP and is able to explain what it means.

Step 6: Initiate every sales and service rep. They must know your USP and believe it because it is credible and represents the reason your firm is unique. They must be able to communicate this USP sincerely to prospects, customers and candidates. In other words, this Unique Selling Proposition, like your company name and logo, is who you are. Once your customers buy into that belief, just as you and your staff will, you will truly differentiate yourself from the competition and create the top-of-mind awareness that warrants extra attention and additional business.



Preparation Worksheet

Purpose: To develop a USP for your company that focuses attention and purpose toward the unique value you bring to your customers.

  1. Identify the kinds of customers you service (e.g., manufacturing, legal, banking) and the kinds of buyers who your customers are (e.g., CEOs, owners, department heads, operations managers, human resource reps).
  2. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “essential,” rate the importance of each of the following to your customers:
     It’s convenient to do business here.  You care about me.
     Your response time is exceptional.  I can trust you to do what you say.
     Your prices are the lowest.  It’s fun doing business with you.
     It’s easy to do business with you.  I can avoid “pain.”
     You can fill most orders well.  You understand when I’m in a hurry.
     You handle the unusual.  It’s easy to do business with you.
     You deliver effective solutions.  You enable me to be more flexible.
     You save me time.  You give me a sense of control.
     You enable me to focus.  You eliminate my worries.
     You help me to solve my own problems.  You make me feel good about myself.
     You enable me to get my job done.  I feel like a friend.
     Your service is predictable.  You listen well.
     You represent high quality.  Your people meet their commitments to me.
     Your people are competent.  You’re on the top of my mind.
     You know your industry.  Your people are honest.
     I only have to talk to one person.  Your people pay attention to detail.
     Your people are very reliable.  You’re a good citizen.
     Your people follow up.
     You give me options.
     It’s easy to get the information I need.
     Your people meet their commitments.


  3. What unique services or capabilities do you offer clients?
  4. What are the top three reasons a prospect would choose you over a competitor?
  5. In your customer’s eyes, your competition is doing these things well:
  6. Your competition is not doing these things well:
  7. In order to be unique, your company needs to focus on changing these five features:
  8. Your Unique Selling Proposition needs to communicate at least these four benefits:
  9. The following are my best ideas on communicating our Unique Selling Proposition:
  10. Here is my best shot at our USP: (keep this concise, 25 words or less)



Please feel free to use these examples to help craft your USP statements.

Example 1:

“ABC Staffing is the staffing services firm that delivers the best results for your employment needs.”

Reasons to Believe

  1. Passionate commitment to customer service
  2. Built-in quality assurance; in-depth interviewing, reference checks, and on-the-job follow-up
  3. Dedicated counselor who can focus on learning client needs in depth
  4. Owners are active in the business
  5. Focus on helping clients save time and money

Example 2:

“XYZ Staffing is the staffing services firm that you can rely on for the best results.”

Reasons to Believe

  1. XYZ Staffing has five specialty divisions for all your temporary and permanent personnel needs.
  2. Experience – 29 years in the staffing industry
  3. Resources (The XYZ Advantage)
  4. Value delivered to clients
  5. Long-standing reputation helps attract high quality candidates
  6. Focus on goals-specifically increasing profitability and hiring successes
  7. Integrity
  8. Want to develop long-term relationships characterized by mutual success

Example 3:

“ABC Staffing is the staffing services firm you can rely on to make your job easier.”

Reasons to Believe

  1. Total system solution that uses the best technology to save you time and money
  2. Strategic alliances with clients to help improve their profitability
  3. Reputation and experience-21 years in the staffing industry
  4. Excellent customer satisfaction levels-consistently above 90% satisfaction

Example 4:

“XYZ Staffing is the staffing service that cares most about the right fit of the candidate with your company.”

Reasons to Believe

  1. Very thorough recruiting and screening process
  2. On-the-job follow-up
  3. Dedicated counselor who can focus on learning client needs in depth
  4. Passionate commitment to customer service
  5. Owners are active in the business

Example 5:

“XYZ Staffing is the one staffing service committed to helping qualified candidates seek better career opportunities.”

Reasons to Believe

  1. Quality of client list and available job opportunities
  2. Personal service
  3. Extensive screening process to ensure the right fit
  4. Strong benefits package
  5. Free training services
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