How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition


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Lynn Hunsaker interviewed for Honda dealerships' magazine on how to be customer-focused in sales and service opportunities for better customer experiences. See Contact us at

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How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition

  1. 1. From magazine for Honda dealers, by James Piechocki:How to Create a Unique Selling PropositionHonda products offer special advantages to any professional sales consultant, includingthe brands vaunted reliability, safety and value. Yet a great product comprises onlyone-third of the tools of influence we possess. In this article we focus on two others —our dealership and ourselves.Sell Yourself "I ask any customer if they have owned a Honda before," says COSL GoldMaster Sharon Dortort of Boardwalk Honda. "This jogs great memories and immediatelymakes the sale a positive experience for people." Sharon then sets out to make the dealership experience just as memorable. "In a previous career I was Customer Service Manager for a hotel chain," shecontinues. "I used to teach staff how to make every interaction for our guests special,and I use those skills every day." In the new economy, consumers are delaying every expense, compelling Hondasales consultants to work doubly hard to develop what experts call a unique sellingproposition. Simply put, this is a reason for Honda customers to consider you, yourproducts and your dealership that no other sales consultant or dealership can claim. What is your unique selling proposition, or USP? Perhaps, like Gold Master JeffTolke, it is your tenure at the dealership. "I point out to customers that there will always be someone here to take care oftheir needs," says the 10-year veteran of Honda East in Cincinnati. In other words, thestaff offers a high level of commitment to customers, providing a strong reason toconsider purchasing. According to Gloria Hawkins of Jeffrey Honda, her USP may be the ability todedicate yourself to others with a passion. Entering her office, visitors experience ashrine of more than 300 thank-you cards, a décor that connects her COSL Gold Masterplaques with customer-driven service. In a phrase, her USP is that she replaces the fear of buying with the joy of agreat dealership experience.Steps to a Unique Proposition How can Honda sales consultants new to the profession or the dealership beginto build their USP? "A customer-driven experience is simply a matter of turning an ow into a wow,"points out customer experience consultant Lynn Hunsaker. In other words, top sales consultants are conscientious about the value they add.Six characteristics distinguish COSL Gold and Gold Masters, which Hunsaker shares asguidelines for building a USP. Listen carefully to the customers needs. From the first moments with customers,ask questions to determine their goals for the visit.
  2. 2. Find out what they have already done. At which stage of the sale are they? Areyour customers Honda owners or are they new to the brand? This determines thecontent and depth of your presentation. Record your findings. Taking notes shows customers you are listening anddistinguishes you from the majority of other sales consultants they have worked with. Minimize repetitive requests for information. Careful focus on customers allowsyou to remain laser-targeted on their needs and saves time, a most precious resourcefor todays Honda customers. Empathize with the customers viewpoint. Express that you understanding howcustomers feel, based on what they have told you. Take the customers pulse. Periodically ask if customers are getting what theyneed from you. "This last trait — double-checking your understanding of the customers situation— separates the majority of top professionals from beginners," says Hunsaker, whoseclients include top Silicon Valley sales organizations and the Department of Defense.Sell with Your DealershipWalk into any restaurant or retail store and read the signage. You will experience acarefully crafted USP. Pizza parlors promise prompt delivery or the food is free. Amailing service guarantees that items are delivered overnight. Burgers are made yourway, customization that creates clientele. Your dealership offers you a similar proposition that encourages customers tobecome Honda owners. Beyond the basics of good sales treatment, community presence and reliablevehicle service, what features of your dealership can encourage customers to moveahead on the road to a sale? "Our service department is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays," says JeffTolke. "Our hours of operation and a free shuttle service are very attractive tocustomers." Sharon Dortort makes the point by including a drive to her service department inher demonstrations. She then points out the convenient service entrance and describesthe prompt response that service clients receive. Gloria Hawkins has incorporated the convenience of her service departmentsshuttle into her sales process. If new owners lack transportation prior to delivery, shesimply schedules a shuttle pickup, often at work, spreading the message to coworkers. She also points out that the service department offers an alternative to a wait inthe traditional service lounge: a $3-off coupon for a nearby restaurant. This furtherdemonstrates of her dealerships commitment to customer convenience, What unique benefits of your dealerships service department can youincorporate into your USP? Free car washes, long-term tenure of service personnel anda high Honda Total Satisfaction Index rating can add to advantages over competitivesalespeople. In the recently released 2009 J.D. Power and Associates Customer ServiceIndex, great brands were shown to retain service customers up to 80 percent of the time.
  3. 3. Sales and service treatment above the norm completes the picture, contributing to anunfair advantage over competitors.Online USPsTodays technology allows sales consultants to create compelling USPs electronically.Services such as Youtube make it easy for you to post your photos and positivefeedback from clients (with their permission, of course) on the Web. "Microsoft salespeople carry around a Flip camera whenever they meet clients,"points out Lynn Hunsaker. The reason? They are able to gather customer feedbackand positive testimonials. She suggests that Honda salespeople place these comments on a Youtube site,an online evidence manual that empowers customers with information. "How many auto salespeople have a Youtube site or use services such asTwitter to generate interest?" she asks. "Putting yourself ahead of the pack can give youa marked advantage." For Gloria Hawkins, every day offers an opportunity to surpass her customersexpectations of Honda products, the dealership and her own high level of customerservice. Her job is especially challenging, as many of her Michigan clientele live in theback door of the domestic auto industry. Her desire to create a unique reason to consider Honda begins with a personalcommitment. "I dont take my job for granted," she says. "I keep my door open as long as Ican, and customers respond in kind."Resources Interview. Gloria Hawkins. Jeffrey Honda. Roseville, MI. July 21, 2009. Interview. Sharon Dortort. Boardwalk Honda. Harbor Township, NJ. July 22, 2009. Interview. Jeff Tolke. Honda East, Cincinatti, OH. July 23, 2009. Press Release, ibid. 2009 Customer Service Index Study. February 25, 2009.