Master Brand Positioning: Manifest Prospects
Brand positioning, more than any other factor, determines your ability to attract qualified buyers, maintain their interest and, ultimately, land them as customers.
If your positioning is out of alignment, you’re missing countless opportunities for both paying customers and automated sales.
This is why a 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 the first step when I work with any new company.
If the fundamental brand positioning of a business can be refocused, then the best way to articulate that multifaceted message through marketing and sales will become clear, and a business model will be well on its way to a healthy reformulation.
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 will pay off exponentially in the form of huge increases in paying customers and huge time-saving through automating your sales.
Accomplish my seven steps to master brand positioning, described below, and you’ll clearly and credibly stand out from your competition, becoming the go-to service provider in your market.
1. 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 the 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.
2. 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, recall your past clients’ most prominent concern when initially contacting you.)
3. Clearly define your qualified buyer.
Qualified buyers are those who admit to having a problem you can solve and are willing to pay for your services. 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 is in their circles of influence?
Chasing target markets keeps you broke.
Attracting qualified buyers gets you paid.
4. 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 to their needs. To do this effectively, avoid using your voice; instead, use your qualified buyers’ language — the language they use to talk about their fears, frustrations, desires and aspirations. In doing so, you’re crafting communication that will instantly resonate with them.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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 likability 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 become complicated. If you’re stymied by any of this, even as a seasoned business owner, you’re not alone.
As a professional, 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.