An air conditioning repair company in Las Vegas harnessed the power of a unique selling proposition (USP) and tripled the size of its business in less than a year.
Before implementing the USP, the company had been guilty of running “me too” advertising. Their yellow pages ad (where 90% of their business came from) had the company name plastered across the top in huge letters.
Bullet points let everyone know that they provided 24 hour service, they serviced most major brands, they had 22 years of experience, etc.
Because everyone else’s ad said essentially the same thing, and since their ad was relatively large, they were able to build a respectable business in spite of their “me too” approach. Each year, they were able to generate enough revenue to do the following:
- Add a new truck or two to their fleet
- Keep their repairmen busy most of the time
- Generate a small profit for the owners
- Continue to run the advertisement
What more could small business owners ask for? A lot more! The first step in developing their USP was to determine what customers wanted most from an air conditioning repair company.
In the 8 month long Las Vegas summer, even a couple of hours without an air conditioner is sheer misery. Customer surveys confirmed their notion… fast service was to be the premise for ther USP.
But everyone else already claimed to have fast service. Some companies even put FAST SERVICE in big headlines at the top of their ads. It wasn’t as if nobody else had ever figured out that being fast was important.
They funny thing was that nobody else had figured out a way to say it in a way that would allow them to stand head and shoulders above the competition.
The next year they ran a half page ad as usual (no additional expense) but changed the wording to say:
“Because we have 58 repairmen on call 24 hours a day to man our 27 service trucks, we can guarantee that your home or business will be cool within 2 hours of your call – or there’s no charge for the repair”. And that was just the headline!
The rest of the ad went on to explain that if the crews were too busy to fix the unit right then or if the repair would take longer than 2 hours, portable units would be brought in to cool the house at no extra charge until the repair was completed. Bottom line… the customer would be cool again in a hurry.
The company put a lot of faith in their new USP based on previous test results. They actually only had 17 repair trucks and about 40 technicians when they first placed the ad. They were counting on the ad to generate enough business to afford them the additional trucks and personnel.
The number of calls the ad generated quadrupled in less than one month after the new ad came out. More importantly, they were able to convert 50% of the calls into jobs – up from 38% before. Gross revenues soared and new trucks were bought to keep up with demand. Then of the year profit for the owners was higher than they thought they would ever see.
Their integration of the USP “fast service” was the key element in the company’s turnaround. Obviously, other factors contributed as well, like the company’s underlying dedication to fulfilling the “big promise” of fast service. But the point is a simple headline articulating the USP “Fast Service” increased their bottom line by over 400% with no additional advertising cost.
What is your USP? It is the keystone of all your marketing. Everything else depends on it.