By Nicki Anderson

Developing a Unique Selling Proposition
Why having a USP will give you an edge over your competition. When I speak to personal fitness trainers about marketing strategies, I often ask, “What makes you and your business unique?” Sadly, most trainers reply that what sets them apart is the fact that they really care about their clients. While that sentiment is most admirable, it is not a personal signature that will distinguish them from other professional trainers. Nor is it an effective marketing strategy to use in a sea of competition. So how can you as a personal trainer stand out in the crowd and create a reputation that draws clients to you? My advice is to immediately develop what is known as your USP, or unique selling proposition. I promise that developing a USP will alter the way that prospective clients view your services and will eventually create a healthy client base. While this process may seem daunting to the uninitiated, I assure you it is quite practical–and profitable–once you get the hang of it. Having a solid grasp on your USP will dramatically strengthen the positioning and marketability of your services. In other words, your USP is the force that will drive potential clients to you. at the following examples to see how effective a strategy it can be. See if you recognize the companies who created these great USPs: 1 “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” (Federal Express) 1 “Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.” (Dominos Pizza) 1 “The nation’s strongest cellular phone network.” (Verizon)

Branding Yourself
Once you’ve developed your USP, the great thing is that you can also use it as a “branding” tool to lay the foundation for all your future marketing efforts. Having a brand allows you to create consistency and individuality in all your ads, postcards and other marketing collateral, including your website. In other words, once you’ve established a brand, people can instantly identify your service when they are seeking a trainer. If you don’t have such a personal signature and you simply mimic the ads that your competitors use, your marketing efforts will surely get lost among all the others in our industry. Think about the countless ads you see that tout standard phrases like “Get fit with us!” or “Let us help you lose weight.” Those statements don’t have the unique quality that will drive business to your door. Your business needs its own strong USP so that you position yourself as the best choice in the area. Anyone who doubts how a strong USP can set a business apart has only to look

Step 1: Identify a Missed Opportunity
As you work to identify and develop your USP, start by assessing the current training services in your area and see what opportunities your competitors have overlooked. For example, in my studio, all our rooms are completely private. Owing to the demographics of our community, there are a number of high-profile clients who wish to train in a private setting so as not to be recognized. We identified that this clientele was not being served–in other words, we recognized a missed opportunity on the part of other clubs–and we took full advantage of the situation by promoting the private nature of our club compared with the competition. To identify missed opportunities in your own area, you need to have your thumb on the pulse of your market and community. Only then will you be able to assess what is lacking and then successfully seize the chance that other businesses have missed. Companies that base

The USP Process
To start the USP process, you need to understand what makes you and your training services unique among the competition in your area. Once you can articulate that quality to prospective clients, they will see you as the most desirable choice. Next, you need to learn how to sell your service, which means persuading others to pay money for it. Finally, you have to develop a proposition, which is akin to putting out an offer for acceptance.

Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 7 ID E A Tr a i n e r S u c c e ss

their USPs on opportunities ignored by others in the same industry are typically pretty successful, because they are filling a need or niche. A great example of a company that made the most of a missed opportunity is Curves