Brand positioning, more than any other factor, determines your ability to attract qualified buyers, maintain their interest and, ultimately, land them as customers. In this article, I share my 7 steps to master brand positioning – because if your positioning is out of alignment, you’re missing countless opportunities for, both, paying customers and, in essence, automated sales.
This is why my Marketing Audit – which pivots from a business’s brand-positioning (i.e., its “DNA”) – so plainly reveals the accord and discord in that organization’s business model, marketing plan, and sales plan. This brand-centered Marketing Audit is a core component of my Coaching Model and the first step when I work with any new company. Because of the brand-positioning’s centrality to a business, this Marketing Audit is also one of the few elements I offer as a standalone option.
If the fundamental brand positioning of a business can be re-focused, then how to best articulate that multifaceted message, through marketing and sales, will clarify, and a business model will be well on its way to a healthy reformulation.
So, how can you determine if your marketplace positioning is on target? …Look for any of the following red flags:
- You’re losing out on contracts because your prospective clients choose to work with your competitor instead.
- You can’t get a meeting with decision-makers; doors are shut.
- Your marketing attempts feel like throwing spaghetti at the wall; nothing sticks.
- Your lead-generation efforts feel like a game of cat and mouse.
- Your sales conversations turn into a scrutinizing of you rather than a graceful enrollment conversation.
- Your prospects aren’t returning your calls or emails after you present your proposal.
- Your elevator pitch is falling on deaf ears.
Do any of these warning signals sound familiar? If so, you have some brand-positioning work to do. But(!), your efforts (especially with the help of an expert) will pay-off exponentially in the form of huge increases in paying customers and huge time-saving results of, naturally, automating your sales.
Accomplish my Seven Steps to Master Brand Positioning, described below, and, without a doubt, you’ll clearly and credibly stand out from your competition, and become the go-to service provider in your market.
- Know What You Sell.
Clarify the implied outcome your customers buy when they engage your services. An understood outcome, which is often an emotional or psychological transformation, is the carrot and deliverable that truly motivates clients to buy. Even if, on paper, you sell services or widgets, the buyer is primarily invested in the transformational result he/she believes the services or widgets will bring.
- Identify Your “Doorway Problem.”
Understand what initially triggers your prospects to reach out to you for help. This “first” issue is what leads them to your door. Even though clients’ needs are almost always more complex than the “doorway problem,” they’re unaware of that reality until working with you. This means your marketing communication should meet them where they are when first encountering your brand – before experiencing your more sophisticated insights. (If you’re uncertain about your doorway problem, recallyour past clients’ most prominent concern when initially contacting you.)
- Clearly Define Your Qualified Buyer.
Qualified buyers are those who admit to having a problem you can solve, and who are willing to pay for it. These are motivated prospects, ready to invest in what you offer. Know them intimately. What is their business profile, including revenue, budget, and goals? What are their frustrations and aspirations? Where do they hang out? Who are their circles of influence?
- Develop Your Key Messages.
Now, based on your new, clear understanding of what you sell, your doorway problem, and your qualified buyers, create copy that, first and foremost, resonates with your audience as the no-brainer solution-provider to their needs. To do this effectively, avoid using your voice; instead use your qualified buyers’ language – how they talk about their fears, frustrations, desires, and aspirations. In doing so, you’re crafting communication that will instantly resonate with them.
- Specify Your Differentiators.
Articulate, unabashedly, what distinguishes you from your competition. Instead of using weak differentiators, like quality and price, use strong differentiators, like your special service, unique approach, exceptional skill, extensive experience, proprietary process, customer relations, or quality of resources.
- Establish Your Expertise.
After mastering the first five brand positioning steps (to the extent that they’re absolutely clear to you, and expertly communicated by your marketing and sales copy), you’re ready to accentuate your uniqueness with credibility. Demonstrate the professionalism and excellence with which you create and deliver your differentiators: create opportunities for visibility and exposure in the places and platforms where your qualified buyers seek inspiration; build relationships with their circles of influence; look for additional opportunities to demonstrate your leadership.
- Humanize Your Excellence.
In addition to being attracted to your spot-on brand-positioning that meets their needs exactly, prospects will prefer to buy from someone they feel they know, like, and trust. Show them this is you by creating opportunities for them to experience you – your likeability and trustworthiness. (Public speaking, publishing, and other opportunities for personalized publicity are examples of ways to do this.)This will humanize the expert-status of your distinguished brand.
While these seven steps to brand positioning mastery can be clearly understood on paper (or on-screen), you’ve probably discovered that articulation and implementation quickly becomes complicated. If you’re stymied by any of this, even as a seasoned business-owner, you’re not alone. As a professional yourself, you’re more than aware that we all need objective, professional reflection and advice in order to continue to put our best foot forward.
If you’re not crystal clear on the above steps regarding brand-positioning, it’s critical to begin seeking the expertise you need with a personalized Marketing Audit at the very least. I can help. Contact me for a complimentary discovery call. Being an expert in your field, you’re well aware of the amount of time and ineffective effort saved by securing nothing less than the expertise you need.
This article was originally published on Forbes.com.