Why do your clients choose you?
They have other options — including doing the work themselves, or doing nothing. But they choose you.
Why is that?
Most of us think our clients choose us because we offer high quality. Or maybe we think it’s our pricing. And those are both important.
But most of the time, positioning is what leads a client to choose one provider over another.
Let’s get into what that means, and how we can improve it.
Positioning is how your buyers see you
One copywriter might be a research-driven SaaS email specialist. Another might be a heart-centered storyteller who excels in fundraising for nonprofits.
(Those might even be the same person … with two different clients who see them in different ways.)
But positioning isn’t just another term for niche. It goes deeper than that.
Here’s why positioning is the third (and in some ways the most powerful) business breakthrough.
Just about every kind of business has some players who take the “value” (cheap) position, some who are midrange, and some who are “premium” (expensive).
And a lot of business owners just let their positioning happen.
They started out working with a certain kind of client, they have a way of thinking about themselves, and their positioning just kind of … shows up.
But happy, successful business owners are more intentional.
They make a decision about the role they want to play in their market. Then they design their business to fit that role.
I like the way positioning expert Mark Levy describes it. He says that when you get your positioning right,
“Anyone else would just be a diet version of you.”
Great positioning connects with buyer desire
It’s important to give our clients and customers the solutions they need, to solve their important problems.
But we also need to serve them what they want.
You probably don’t care too much about dishwasher detergent. The cheapest is fine as long as the dishes get clean.
But maybe you care a lot about a great haircut. Or an excellent bottle of wine. Or a beautifully made watch.
You might notice something there — desire is specific. Almost nothing is universally desirable. (Although Apple is giving it a good try.)
Positioning is the third breakthrough because as long as you’re positioning your business as generic dishwasher detergent, you’re never going to be able to command champagne prices — or the respect that goes with that positioning.
Take this “DNA test” for your business
I have a framework I call VESPA, that will help you think and talk about your business in a more specific way.
VESPA combines five elements to reveal the DNA of your business — the unique fingerprint that you, and only you, bring.
I encourage you to spend a few minutes today writing about your own VESPA.
Once you do, you can start to put some serious thought into the next question:
What does the premium version of this look like?
- What’s a higher-quality problem I am well-qualified to solve?
- What deeply meaningful transformation could I empower?
- What kind of customer gets the most value out of what I offer?
- How do I help my clients and customers become the best versions of themselves?
Does it take innate confidence to charge premium prices?
Some people do seem to have more confidence, and that’s great for them.
But if you aren’t “naturally” blessed with confidence, store-bought is fine.
If you have trouble thinking of yourself as a premium provider, you can actually set up external structures that remind you of your value.
In other words, you don’t always have to feel confident in order to communicate with confidence.
That’s what I’ll be talking about with the final breakthrough — the Breakthrough of Structure.
It’s what lets us stand tall in our business, no matter how we’re feeling in the moment.
Missed the earlier posts in the series?
You can catch up here!
This is the third post in the Four Breakthroughs series. Stay tuned for the complete set!