What is your U.S.P.?

No, that is not computer slang, tech talk or otherwise. U.S.P. It has be defined slightly differently by different “experts of advertising” for the past 50 plus years. There is Unique selling proposition, or Unique selling point which if you clicked on both of those links, you’ll see it is a matter of what noun to use.

Anyway, you can read about it, but it is most important to know what yours is.

It started for me in 1986 when I crossed over from the programming and on-air side of radio, to the advertising and commercial side with a career shift that took me to Detroit and Crawford Broadcasting’s WMUZ.

Today I sit in my “overall favorite” coffee shop, and realized what their USP is for me: They have overflowing cups of coffee. Yes, really. When you get a specialty cup of joe, like my fav a white mocha, and then they add the home-made whip cream, you cannot put the lid on until you sip away some of the mixture. Other coffee shops just give you less coffee, or ask “Do you need room for cream?”.

The next time I see the owner of this place, I will ask them if this is something they have as a policy, or is it just something they do. Overflowing cups of your favorite coffee beverage, made especially for you.

If you don’t know what your USP is, you risk becoming lost in the schuffle. Each person has a USP too! Mine is probably that radio guy with the beard, at least at first glance.

Here’s a challange, ask your customers to write a sentance that discribes your business to them. Collect as many of these as possible over then next couple of weeks or months depending on your business cycle.

Ask your friends, co-workers, clients etc to write 3 words that discribe you. Collect those and be prepared for a few surprises, if they are honest.

Perception is reality when it comes to your USP. Focus on your strengths now that you know what they are.


How good is your loyalty program? What would happen if you cancelled it?

The following is from Chuck McKay… go to his blog by clicking on the title above

In Their Own Best Interest
In the 1960s Country music was a true niche radio format, with only a few hundred radio stations in the U.S. playing the music.

Country radio managers and programmers claimed their listeners were “loyal.” They claimed it so loudly and so long that all through the 70s the loyalty of Country listeners to their favorite station was accepted as fact.

In the early 80s Country became mass appeal, and the number of radio stations broadcasting the music grew to the thousands. Care to speculate what happened to all of those loyal station listeners?

Like radio listeners of every other format, they migrated to other stations which played a better selection of the songs they wanted to hear, and had disc jockeys who spoke about things the listeners related to.

Perhaps you can relate to radio listeners. Perhaps not. The principle is the same whether we’re discussing radio listener loyalty or customer loyalty programs.

The principle hasn’t altered since Adam Smith first proposed it in his 1776 book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations: When given a choice, people will always do what’s in their own best interest.

That means that customers are never truly loyal. Shall we look into your customer loyalty program?

* Will people truly be loyal to your store because you saved them seventeen cents on a can of tuna? Remove the incentive and see how many remain “loyal.”

* Will people keep buying CDs from your record club just to earn the membership points?

* Will they fly your airline exclusively because you made them members of your club? Or do they also have all of your competitors’ club cards?

So, it appears that you’re not buying loyalty with your customer loyalty program. You’re offering a discount to your regular customers. You think this is good business?

What’s that? I misunderstood? You’re using the program to attract new customers?

Cool. Will they stay after you remove the incentive?

It could happen. You stand a much better chance of them staying, though, if your customer service is spectacular. Of course, if your customer service was truly that impressive, you wouldn’t need the customer loyalty program. The resulting word-of-mouth would keep bringing in new shoppers.

Nope. You can never buy loyalty. It can only be earned.

What are you doing to earn it?

Please don’t tell me you’re discounting the tuna by seventeen cents.

Share This Article With A Friend.

Read more!


Have you lost your focus? By that I mean do you ever find yourself going in multiple and sometimes opposite directions? Do you really know what direction you want to go and what you want to focus on?

Over the years I have changed jobs, occupations, even careers and it took a bit of self evaluation to reflect on the past and see my strengths and decide how I wanted to use them.

Yah, you should know your weaknesses too, but don’t focus on trying to improve them yourself (unless they are personally damaging). You can always find a way to compensate for those weaknesses by deligation, partnering, or hiring someone to do those tasks. If you hate ironing, take your shirts to the cleaners for example.

What if you don’t know how to find your focus? There are a couple of web sites that may help you, this one or google it.

Ask the people that know you best, and then be prepared for the truth.

Cowboys’ Guide to Life

One of the first books I read about sales was by Harvey Mackay. This is from his website where you can sign up for a regular newsletter like I did.

Maybe Willie Nelson was wrong to sing, “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.”

Years back, I wrote about Gene Autry’s “Cowboy Code,” and the response it got made me wonder whether the cities would empty out because of the cowboy boom. Just recently, I came across the “Cowboys’ Guide to Life,” taken from a book by Texas Bix Bender, “Don’t Squat with Yer Spurs On!” It’s a little different from Autry’s, but it hits home, whether you’re home on the range, or home in the corner office suite.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from his book with my homespun comments. The list may seem simple, and frankly, it is. But it is so right on. Follow these rules, and in the final roundup, you’ll be one of the good guys:


Don’t squat with yer spurs on. Ouch! But it’s even more painful to find that you’ve self-destructed. Why would you stab yourself in the back(side) on purpose? Aren’t there enough sneaks in the office just looking for the opportunity? If you’re going to sit down on the job, make sure you don’t put a tack on your saddle. Pay attention to your business and no one else will need to.

The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm. The colder it gets, the harder it is to swaller. Everyone makes mistakes. What separates the cowhands from the rustlers is how they handle them. Take responsibility for your missteps and get it over with. People will forgive honest mistakes. No one looks kindly on passing the blame or ducking the issues. Did I say it would be easy? Of course not. Just don’t make the same mistake twice.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. If you find yourself going in the wrong direction, switch directions. Realize that taking a new tack is not conceding defeat; it’s preventing a problem from getting out of control. Take the bull by the horns. And don’t be afraid to ask for help getting yourself out of a hole.

Always drink upstream from the herd. You know what happens downstream where the herd is. Why would you want to be part of that? Whether it’s office gossip or nasty politics or whatever the group mentality may be, take the high road. Rise above the fray and do the best job you can. How others behave is up to them, but only you dictate your deportment.

If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there with ya. There’s a big difference between real leadership and thinking you’re in charge. I’d go one step further and advise you to take not only a look, but also a listen, and make sure you’re still connecting.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back. Oh, that we could take back some of those thoughtless remarks and arrogant statements. What were we thinking? The spoken word has been responsible for the demise of many careers. That’s a shame, because while you may not have control over what goes through your mind, you do have control over what comes out of your mouth. Remember, your opinion isn’t always necessary or important. It’s not bad to be the strong silent type.

And never, ever, miss a good chance to shut up. This is more than a continuation of point 6. Every discussion needs an ending. Every comment doesn’t need a retort. Every issue does not need another opinion. Speak up when it’s important, and shut up when it isn’t. What you don’t say is often as important as what you do say. Sometimes it’s better to leave them guessing about what you’re thinking rather than to confirm that you’re not really thinking at all.

Mackay’s Moral: My favorite from Texas Bix Bender – Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

What Buyers Hate About Sellers

The following is taken directly from an email I got today. Go to his website, get stuff like this free in your e-mail too! Buy some of Jim’s stuff like I did. Do Both! But use it, and practice it. Then you can watch your life change.

The more things change, the more it seems they don’t change.

Most salespeople just don’t get it. Too many salespeople just talk
too much.

One of the fatal flaws of professional selling is too little listening
and too much talking.

According to John Asher, another sales trainer, 95% of all salespeople
talk too much and I think he’s right.

Salespeople just love to talk. And why not – that’s why you’re hired.

The best salespeople listen more than they talk and the simple truth
is the less you say the smarter you’ll sound.

Take a breath and and try using your ears more.

In fact, employ your ears before you engage your mouth. As soon as
you start listening more, you’ll start learning more about your
customers. This is what selling is all about.

When you do this your sales performance will sky-rocket.

I have a confession to make. I didn’t always do what I’m asking you
to do.

In fact, growing up in New York, I was everything but a good listener.

I remember my first sales job. I also remember being able to talk
so fast I could complete sentences for anyone I happened to be talking
to, including prospects and customers.

I could shoot from the lip with the best of them.

You could say, my mouth was the center of my universe. You could
also say I would routinely get mugged by my own mouth.

Talking too much and talking too fast isn’t an easy habit to change.
But change you must if you want to succeed in sales.

There is just less tolerance for mediocrity today. Truth be known,
you can cut back on your talking as soon as you start asking better
questions. It’s simple and it’s easy.

Just don’t try winging it. A good word is like a burning ember that
lingers on. Imagine stringing good words together to create powerful
questions. WOW!

Good questions are what great selling is all about.

I’ve written a book about questions, but most of you already have
that one. Maybe it’s time to write a new book about the best questions
to ask prospects and customers.

You can help me write the book and see your name and questions included
in the book.

If you have a really good question that you’d like to share with other
professional salespeople send it to me via e-mail.

If I use your question in my new book, your name will appear in a list
of credits in the new book – and I will send you a complimentary copy
of the eBook version of book.

Please send only open-ended questions. These questions should have
between 5-12 words and cannot be answered with a one-word response.
Good open-ended questions can begin with the words how, what, describe,
and tell me about.

Just as a reminder, the title of this letter is What Buyers Hate About
Sellers. You now know that buyers don’t like salespeople who talk too

What Buyers Love About Sellers are really good questions that show
interest and concern for the buyer.

Nothing shows a buyer that you care more than a good question.

Don’t forget to send me your best open-ended questions.

A busy month

A Full 30 days without any entries to this Blog. Life is good, and it is time for an update.

As me and my wife were talking recently, The Internet and Computers, (like all tools) can be used for good or evil. Okay, evil may be harsh, but in reality, it may go to that extreme. But, there are lots of people and organizations that use Instant messenger services to talk to someone in the next cube. Or they use e-mail as a substitute for a phone call. A good friend of mine, keeps his list of activities and his “to do list” all on a yellow legal pad and a clip board, just like he has been doing for the past 30 or 40 years.

A question we all need to ask ourselves is: Is the technology available for us to use as tools, a help or hindrance? This is a personal question; there is no one answer that fits all.

Which brings me to another theme we have had at our company, SIMPLIFY.
Lloyd Roach, a gentleman, about the same age as my previously mentioned friend, joined our company, after sitting on the board of directors, working behind the scenes to steer this ship and SIMPLIFY. Cut out all the unnecessary, and get back to what makes us money and makes our clients money.

As an analytical but practical person, I delight in theses strategies and focus, and yet sometimes find myself still overdoing the unnecessary. So it is time to unclutter our lives, select the BEST, over OKAY, and use the tools of technology to move forward and not get bogged down.

Here are a few practical items that may apply to you and your world:
1. I get several free subscriptions that I really do not need. Both Print and E-mail. Get your name off the “quote of the day” e-mail or anything that clutters your life like that.
2. Read the books and magazines you already have and then give them to others. I have more un-read books than books I have completed in my collection. The Business Magazines, I brought to work and have available for my staff to use for information or research on a client.
3. Forms. In working with our business manager, we are looking at ways to eliminate redundancy. Our previous General Manager was also a lawyer, so there was a lot of CYA stuff in contracts. We still go by the rule of no verbal agreements, but we can use an e-mail, back of a business card, or a hand written note on letterhead to do some stuff that was not possible under previous management.
4. Prune. This is a favorite of mine. Stop trying to fix the weak, and focus on the strengths. We eliminated 3 radio formats that were the weak sisters of the bunch and are now directing our efforts on the very best we have to offer, and it is working.

That’s all for now, time to get stuff done and enjoy time with my family. (By the way, for an update on what else has been going on this past month, visit my other blog.)