Marketing Secret #59:
Shifting from USP to MOU
I love language. Growing up, I would hear kids in the school yard saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” Now, who knows that is a bunch of cow manure!! Words have plenty of energy and hurt more than you realise at the time.
It’s the same in marketing. USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. Yet every day I hear business owners tell me how much they hate SELLING or being SOLD to.
So, I decided to change the acronym to MOU – Market of Own Uniqueness.
The shift in energy and emotion from USP to MOU is subtle, yet quite powerful. USP is an outward transaction where you SELL your products/services or proposal. MOU is an inward approach where you share about your business expertise through your values, ethos or philosophy establishing your own unique style, brand, business position.
With MOU, it is the furthest from a sales pitch could be and aligns to your core values, ethos, and philosophy. Your MOU sounds and creates the impression you have something emotive, irresistible, and enticing. This is where you make people feel very comfortable in following through and coming to do business with you.
When talking to people, are you swearing that you’re not going to try to sell them anything? If you’re following up leads, are you swearing that you're going to interview them and not try to shove anything down their throat? Are you either directly, overtly, or covertly communicating that you’re a consultant, a trusted advisor? If this is you, please STOP!
So here is a test for you to consider. Here are a few examples that I have experienced over the years of someone attempting to sell me. What is your reaction to these statements?
Test 1 - “Listen, Mr (Ms) Prospect, I understand that there are lots of people who will be glad to give you so-called stories of their
size or experience but let me explain a couple of things to you. One, I have a great deal of professional responsibility that I must manage
if you do business with me. I will be ethically required to review your situation as it relates to my product/service – to help you look at
all the related areas in your life, and to help you work out a plan that will lead you to the best chance of achieving your goals (or buying
the right…for you). Both now, and on an ongoing basis, so that we are working together to make sure we’re on target regarding your desires
Test 2 - See, Mr (Ms) Prospect, if I just simply look at one issue, all by itself,..my response is this. If I just talk to you about part of your situation here, I could be committing a great sin for both you and me. See, it could, and often does turn out, that the issue cannot be dealt with in a vacuum. There may be other areas that could be affected and even made a problem if you move too quickly or in the wrong direction.
Raise your hand if you felt you had been backed into a corner? Perhaps you felt psychologically damaged? If the answer is YES, well done. These are examples of USP – where you are selling your unique proposition (which actually isn’t that unique).
To help you make the leap from USP to MOU, let me share the same examples presented, however in a MOU way. Communicating in a way which shares your knowledge and expertise WITHOUT selling is the way to build relationship.
MOU 1 – “I completely understand Mr/Mrs/Ms Prospect that others will give you their stories and experience, which is important for
you to know. For us, operating ethically demands a high level of professional responsibility. You should expect us to
review your situation, to ensure our products/services can provide the best approach to achieving your goals. Mutual accountability
is essential to underpin a positive and long lasting relationship.
MOU 2 – There are many moving parts when providing the right solution, which is important to know up front. Our approach is one of
transparency where we prefer to present the full situation and know every issue and challenge before we begin. That way you're more
equipped with the right information before you dive in.
When you take a MOU - Market of Own Uniqueness approach, you come from a place of wanting to build a balanced relationship. There is no need to be combative or psychologically scarring. Let your values, ethos and philosophy do the talking and the walking. You will be amazed out the responses you will receive.
To find out more about how to shift your business to MOU rather than USP, book a 30-minute no-obligation call with one of our team members.