Why You Need a USP and How to Develop One

by Wendy Komancheck
6/18/2014

Your lawn care or landscape business can't really take off without something that sets it apart from competitors in your market. You need to convince potential clients about what's different and positive about your services compared to competitors.

This is called your unique selling proposition or position, your USP. It's what makes your landscape/lawn care business stand out from the crowd.

You need to decide what makes your company and its services stand out from your competition. Then you have to market that difference, both traditionally and via social media. Is it your attention to detail? Is it because you own a one-stop shop business? Or is it because you specialize in organic lawn care, hardscape design-build or synthetic turf?
If you need help defining what your company's USP is, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. What do you do better than your competition? 
  2. What's your company's purpose or mission? Why does it exist as a business?
  3. Who are your clients? Are they mostly upscale residential clients or more commercial clients?
  4. What's important to your clients when they hire a landscape and/or lawn care professional?
  5. What is your niche and why did you decide to focus on that niche?
  6. How do you solve your clients' lawn care and landscape problems better than your competition? 
Answering these questions will help you develop your company's USP. It will help you address your ideal client's needs, wants, fears, problems, etc.

Indeed, USP development may take you a few tries. And it's best done when you include your sales, marketing and advertising teams (experts believe you should include your entire company in developing an effective USP).

Account Representative Tim Allen, from the Ephrata Review, a newspaper in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, shared this USP example:

Most customers of Joe Smith's Lawn Care like how he is always on time, grooms the shrubs exactly how they ask and leaves the property taking all of the yard waste with him. Joe realized that his customer's time was a priority, that his attentiveness to their needs and that cleanliness were all important. So when he decided to focus his marketing, he knew that he wanted his prospective clients to know his USP: "Lawn care that values your time, your wishes and your property." 

It's a great start, but after delving deeper with his sales team, Joe discovered better ways to communicate what he does, why he does it and why his business does it better than his competition: "Beautifying your lawn and landscape with every mow."

Granted, this might not be the best example, but at least it gives you a clue about what Joe focuses on to solve his clients' most pressing problems.

He makes his clients' lawns beautiful every time he sends out a crew to mow their properties. Problem solved: A beautiful lawn equals a smart, successful and proud homeowner.

Here are a few more tips that will help you develop your best USP:  
  1. Involve your entire company on USP development by making sure everyone agrees to the purpose of your company (and it has to be more than mowing lawns and being the cheapest service in town).
  2. Give your USP a test run and re-evaluate it in six months. Then, again in a year. USPs are not set in stone, you can change them periodically to get closer to your company's mission.
  3. A USP can also reflect a shift in your company's mission. It's an evolving piece of your marketing plan. So, don't ever believe that it can't be changed to meet your company's growth.
Do you want to learn more about USP, its importance to your business and how to develop it? Read "Power Up Sales with Your USP" from the May 2013 issue of Turf.