Forget USP and Develop your EVP to Increase Sales and Build Customer Loyalty – by Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Having an unique selling proposition or USP is advocated by many sales trainers, marketing consultants and even small business coaches.  This is a statement of what sets you apart from all of your competitors.  Yet to truly be that Red Jacket in that now very crowded sea of gray suits is far more about your EVP than your MVP.

To increase sales and to build customer loyalty requires for you as the salesperson to understand how your potential customer makes buying decisions. Since human beings are emotional creatures first by how their brains are constructed, then the statement people buy first on emotion, justified by logic is quite true.  Of course, this comes after people buy from people they know and trust. Trust is also more often than not based on emotions or gut feelings than actually knowledge.

The third sales buying rule is people buy on value unique to them.  In other words, what you believe the benefits or results of your solutions are may not be what new potential customers want or believe them to be.

In the book A Seat at the Table the author, Marc Miller, provides some of the best information on understanding value from the buyer’s perspective. For selling is truly not about you, but rather it is all about your buyer and how she or he perceives how your solution will deliver the pre-determined value they are seeking.  This is why many sales letters are not successful, because generic value is still generic value.

Today’s successful sales people need to develop their Emotional Value Perception for each potential customer.  Now sometimes, the EVP can be replicated. However, the end result is always each buyer’s favorable decision and what leans that decision in your favor.

The EVP also recognizes the greatest competitor for all sales people is the status quo. Your goal is to move your potential customers off the dime and towards your dime. When you understand your prospect’s dime probably weighs a ton and your potential customer has a lot already invested in that dime, it is easier to understand why he or she is so intent to holding onto that dime.

In other words, you are becoming the Change Master Manipulator.  Now if you think manipulator is a negative word, look it up in the dictionary and especially its origins.  When we convince people to move off the dime, we are moving them or manipulating them to change their position.

To be successful in the development of this 21st Century sales skill suggests strong emotional intelligence skills.  Emotional intelligence has always been around, but it took the work of Howard Gardner and Daniel Goleman to put this natural talent into cognitive terms.

Additionally active listening is also required to pick up on those “value nuances” through the non-verbal body language, the para-verbal of syntax and the actual verbal language. One of the ways to improve active listening is to ensure that it is clear from the receiver.

  • C – Listen for clarity to separate the knowns from the unknowns, the tangibles from the intangibles
  • L – Listen to legitimize the real issues as sometimes people confuse symptoms with problems
  • E – Listen for emotions to ensure the non-verbal is in alignment with the verbal
  • A – Listen for agreement where you can find shared and common ground
  • R – Listen for retention because what has been said probably has been said before, but missed


Finally EVP is all about putting the wants and the needs of the customer first.  This is not the time for your ego because you believe you know what is best for the customer.

By developing your EVP you can not only improve your marketing effectiveness, but increase sales and build customer loyalty all at the same time.  To be the Red jacket in today’s crazy busy, information overload market place does demand that you look at the same landscape through different lenses.


About the Author:

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, the Strategic Tactician, is an author, corporate coach and executive consultant who supports crazy busy forward thinking leaders at all levels and in all industries who are tired of the current status quo, of repetitive problems and truly want sustainable results for their teams as well as their selves. Call 219.759.5601 or email at