USP – An Example without Competition

necklaceWhile walking through Provincetown (known as “P-Town”, it’s the very tip of Cape Cod) this weekend, DH and I entered “Whaler’s Wharf” – little shops on both sides of a building with the front and back and an atrium open to the elements.

All of a sudden a necklace caught my eye. It was made from copper and just kept “looking” at me.

We walked up to the display case (outside the store in the common walking area) and saw that, sitting behind it was an elderly Italian man smoking a cigarette.

I’m borderline allergic to smoke. Eyes water, I sneeze. . .it’s not pretty and I typically walk the other way immediately.

Yet it didn’t phase me here. While the smell was, well, “ick”, I noticed something on the walls inside his shop that took all thought of the smoke away, so deeper in I went.

Covering the walls like wallpaper were handwritten cards and notes, pictures and foreign currency from all manner of happy customers who had bought his jewelry and, in many instances, were looking to buy more through the mail. (Talk about social proof!)

I asked Niko about his jewelry.

He makes each piece by hand and “with love for the energy” of the piece.

It was no longer just a necklace.

It was an element of Niko, of “the old country”, of my Dad who came from that old country and had the same sideburns, of belonging to this club of women worldwide who’d experienced the same and I had to have one.

Which, by the way, he helped pick out by telling me one “isn’t you” when I looked at another and letting me know which he felt complemented me best (and it was the less expensive one).

And Niko’s parting words as I was leaving with my newly-acquired necklace?

“Women everywhere are going to want to know where you got this piece. They’re going to touch it. First, here’s how you clean their prints off it. Second, you choose whether to tell them about me and my jewelry or it can be a secret we keep together. You get to choose.”

One of the hardest things to identify and create, and do it well, is a USP or Unique Selling Proposition.

Personally I’ve found that trying to force them just doesn’t work. Successful USPs are part of the business, ingrained in them. {Tweet This.}

Niko doesn’t need an USP, he is one. He has no competition.

How about you?