SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?
How is your business different?
What does your business do that is special?
Why should I buy from your business?
Don't you hate these questions? I do (or at least I used to).
It takes so little insight to ask these questions, but so much effort to answer them well.
And as much as I (used to) hate these questions, I know they are extremely important to answer.
Let's be honest...all companies are NOT made the same.
Bottom line: there are companies that know what they stand for and resonate in the marketplace and there are companies that do not know what they stand for and do not resonate in the marketplace.
In this article I'm going to give you a step-by-step blueprint to follow so you can resonate with your audience. This article is for you if you have been trying to (re)write your mission/vision, (re)brand your company, or (re)focus on your BEST client. Keep reading in fill-in-the blanks as you go. This is going to be good!
Conventional Companies vs Coveted Companies
- Some companies are content with simply being “open for business”.
- They treat “best practices” like unbreakable laws...
- They blindly follow the "rule book" provided by their predecessors...
- They use the "status quo" as explicit instruction on how to run their business...
I call these companies “conventional” companies
Conventional companies agree there is a generally accepted way of doing things and they are happy to accept (and blindly follow) these standard methods.
But then, every so often, a different kind of company comes along, turns those conventions on their HEAD, and creates the kind of company no one has ever seen.
- Like what Harley-Davidson did to the motorcycle business...
- Like what Apple did to the personal computing business...
- Like what Google did to the online search business...
- Like what Starbucks did to the coffee business...
Each of these companies entered the marketplace with a different intention. They weren't trying to be like everyone else and they certainly didn't settle for the “conventional” wisdom of the day.
Coveted companies enter the marketplace with a different intention. They don't try to be like everyone else and they certainly don't settle for the “conventional” wisdom of the day.
They pushed the envelope to realize their vision...of what the marketplace would be like... if conventional wisdom was challenged in favor of a NEW model that offered even MORE value to the customer.
Think about those companies again:
- Apple Computer
These companies are the ROCKSTARS of their niche. Each has a proven track record of consistently innovating...to offer more and more VALUE to their customer. And what is their reward?
- Customer clamor for their products and services. They go out of their way, wait in line, pay a premium, and tell their friends.
- Competitors view them as the gold standard. They mimic and copy without ever being able to reproduce the results.
It's easy to tell who the best of breed, “Coveted” companies are in a niche. Let's put you in a position where others describe YOUR business the same way.
Wait, that IS why you are reading, right?
Excellent. Let's get to work!
Setting a Baseline for Your New Coveted Positioning
As we move forward let me set a few ideas as a baseline:
Baseline Idea #1 - Your clients are NOT interested in how “smart” you are.
Being Coveted is not an issue of years in the field, technical expertise, or specific certifications. Your job is to translate your experiences, certifications, and studies into specific solutions for your client base.
Baseline Idea #2 - Positioning is not about a clever tag line.
Coveted positioning is developed as the marketplace understands your ability to consistently provide a BIG solution to it's BIG problem. Your job is to build value in the marketplace by consistently helping people (clients) solve their BIG problems.
Baseline Idea #3 - People aren't going to automatically “get it”.
YOU lead the business. YOU are going to have explain why your business is the absolute best option for your clients. No, it's not “obvious”. It's your job to create a clear value proposition clients can get excited about.
Baseline Idea #4 – BEST client or BUST
If you are going to go through the painstaking effort of building a business you might as well do it for the people who are going to appreciate it most.
The trick is you are going to have to find them BEFORE they are going to find you. In other words, you are going to have to define who your BEST client is and go GET them through intelligent marketing.
To be clear, here is what I mean by BEST client. (Pay attention because I'll be referring to your BEST client in the remainder of this article.)
BEST Client = The client that loves your business SO much they continue to return to you no matter the competition and regardless of the cost.
Are we on the same page now? Excellent.
The ideas you create as you read this article are really, REALLY important. So important, in fact, that they should be written down AND fiercely executed. (I've done my best to make them fill-in-the blank so you can execute.)
So without any further ado, let's begin the writing process so you can begin your fierce execution.
The Ultimate Guide to Mission, Vision, and Brand Positioning Statements
Clear marketplace positioning boils down to how well you can answer these 4 fundamental questions. Keep reading. We will take them one at a time with templates for each.
STEP 1: WHO ARE YOU?
State what your company believes in a way your BEST client can appreciate. (This is what most consider a mission statement.) Simon Sinek explains this well in his very popular TED Talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action.
In the video, he makes the point that by beginning with your "reason why", essential beliefs, and core values your potential for marketplace influence is much stronger. It's a simple concept. It's a profound concept. It's also the basis for separating your company from every other that tries to compete with you. Here in Step 1 I will provide a fill-in-the-blanks template for you to articulate your "reason why".
If you've done any kind of corporate planning or strategic planning in the past you've probably crafted a mission statement of some kind. The conventional process is hard and most often creates mission statements that are terrible.
Let's compare the mission statements of two different companies to see the difference between a conventional approach and a Coveted approach.
Exxon's Mission Statement
Exxon's mission statement provides an example of how most “conventional” companies state who they are.
Exxon Mobil Corporation is committed to being the world's premier petroleum and petrochemical company. To that end, we must continuously achieve superior financial and operating results while simultaneously adhering to high ethical standards.
Starbucks Mission Statement
Compare it to the mission statement at Starbucks:
Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
So what's the difference?
Exxon is classic corporate. It's logical, dry, and conventional. All it's really saying is, “we are committed to being a profitable company”. Terms like “superior financial and operating results” don't do anything to help you choose their gas pump over the gas pump across the street.
Starbucks believes what they do makes the world a better place. It makes you think, “Are you telling me a cup of coffee can inspire and nurture my spirit? That must be an amazing cup of coffee! It's at least worth a try.” Starbucks intends to do more than make coffee, they intend to make coffee that does something.
What should you take from this?
If you want to be MORE to your clients, you have to BE MORE.
If you want to be MORE to your clients, you have to BE MORE. You have to solve for the most complex, disturbing, and overwhelming challenges in your client's existence. Starbucks believes it can change your attitude with a cup of coffee. What do you believe your services can do in the life of your BEST client? As a consultant, you know your value is directly proportionate to the size of problem you solve. If you solve daily, run-of-the mill problems...you are a run-of-the-mill consultant. If you solve scary, overwhelming problems...you are a hero.
It's important to express WHO you are in the marketplace according to the SIZE of problem you plan to solve.
Remember, your BEST client really IS stuck.
And since you ARE the Superman of you niche it's easy to overlook some of the issues that plague mere mortals. Think about where your BEST client is right now.
- Your BEST client is stuck.
- Your BEST client would prefer to focus on something else (family, career, finances, etc), but they can't because they are stuck.
- Your BEST client is trying to navigate this situation alone and is “beat up” by the myriad of conflicting and confusing options they see each day. Which leaves them stuck.
- Your BEST client is counting on someone (preferably YOU) to help them understand, navigate, and find their optimal solution. In other words, they want you to get them UN-stuck.
How many days have you felt “stuck” because you couldn't find a good cup of coffee? It sounds so simple, but Starbucks understood what a big deal it is and in in turn, built a company we will never forget. Don't underestimate your BEST client's problem. Instead, solve the heck out of it.
As the thought leader, you study this stuff. You are “certified” in it. You earned a “degree” in it. You may even call it your “life's work”. It's easy for YOU, but to your BEST client it is absolute rocket science. Crack the code for them.
Acknowledge the NOISE. Remind them of the TRUTH. Tell them what you BELIEVE is possible.
Clear the fog. Settle the frustration. Help them see that a solution really is possible. In the world of consulting we call this “framing” an issue. Your first piece of value is to organize the facts of the situation in a way that helps your clients see clearly. You have to separate the NOISE from the TRUTH and then establish your BELIEFS as a company.
- NOISE: All of the pundits, theories, and trends that confuse your BEST client
- TRUTH: The undeniable facts your BEST client is forced to confront
- BELIEFS: The perspective your company adopts as it solves the BIG problem
Example: Imagine you are a firefighter trying to rescue a scared six year old girl from a burning car. If she is going to trust you and allow you to save her you need to communicate clearly and confidently.
- NOISE: I know you are afraid and it FEELS like you can't move, but
- TRUTH: this car IS on fire and if we do not move quickly you WILL be in even more danger.
- BELIEFS: If you follow me and hang on tight I firmly BELIEVE you will exit this car safely.
Before you try to sell any services, you need to make it clear to your BEST client that
1 - There IS existing noise that keeps them from making the best decision.
2 – There ARE some hardcore truths they must acknowledge if they are going to perform well.
3 – Your ASSESSMENT of the noise and the truth has led you to a certain set of beliefs that will get them un-stuck.
Fill in the blanks. Tell your BEST client WHO YOU ARE!
TEMPLATE #1 - WHO ARE YOU?
Now it's your turn. Fill in these blanks for your company.
- The #1 distraction my BEST client experiences is [NOISE].
- The #1 undeniable fact my BEST client must face is [TRUTH].
- Our primary perspective in helping our clients achieve is [BELIEF].
Now fill-in this phrase.
In our company we understand that our clients are often distracted by [NOISE] as they make a decision about [TRUTH]. Our commitment to [BELIEF] allows us to help more and more people each day.
Many companies try to capture all of what they believe in a single statement (like in the Starbucks example). It's actually very hard to do. It's much easier if you develop a small table and put the noise, truths, and beliefs side by side. Download the article summary here to begin.
So who are you? What DO you believe?
Your honest responses lay an excellent foundation for what makes you different...even what makes your business *special*.
Again, these things might be “obvious” to you, but you need to call them out now so you can strategically communicate them to your BEST client.
You've established your first layer. Now move to step 2.
STEP 2: WHAT DO YOU DO?
Look into the future and state the effect your business will have in the marketplace. (This is what most consider a vision statement.)
Note: There is a lot of confusion about the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement. I would encourage you to avoid the academic debate. Instead, steady your focus on the statements that speak clearly to your BEST client. In this Step 2 you are about to develop your company's "rally cry" that not only attracts your BEST client, but also clarifies communication with partners, vendors, and employees. You are about to cast your vision. Let's keep going.
When your BEST clients asks what you do. Make an awesome promise to them.
Remember your goal is to be the Apple, Starbucks, or Harley-Davidson of your niche. You can't JUST sell computers, coffee, or motorcycles. There is nothing special about that.
When your BEST client asks “what you do” they need to hear an answer that hits them in the pit of their stomach. It should move them. It should do more than make sense intellectually. It should be compelling emotionally.
Your BEST client wants you to WOW them!
Your BEST client wants a long-term relationship with an advisor they can trust. Do you really think they want to find another company to work with six months from now? Of course not. They want to work with someone who can satisfy their short term needs and think with them into the long-term.
Acknowledging a relationship upfront not only speaks to the client's deepest needs, but it's also good business.
- Kissmetrics gives us 10 tactics for increasing your customer lifetime value and loyalty. You can't do any of these without a good client relationship.
- This article in Mashable helps us see that in most cases, growing your business is cheaper (and faster) if you retain and sell to your existing client base.
- And if you like math, this article at Conversion XL breaks down customer retention rate, customer churn, and includes a Starbucks case study analyzing lifetime value of a customer (LTV)
Additionally, you and I both know that any significant change you are going to enable for your clients comes from a healthy client-consultant relationship with a long term perspective. More often than not, miracle results do not occur in the first meeting. You might as well discuss the value of a long-term relationship in the beginning.
And to be clear, it is YOUR job to frame this conversation for your BEST client. Your employees and vendors can't do it for you. It isn't automatically understood.
The trick is, how do you communicate all of this “short-term, long-term, trusted advisor, customer lifetime value” messaging all at one time?
Good news is, you don't have to say it all. A couple of short, specific statements will start a conversation in your BEST client's mind...and they will come to the logical conclusion (you) all by themselves.
But this IS a conversation YOU have to start.
Fill in the blanks. Tell your BEST client WHAT YOU DO!
Here is what your BEST client needs to know. Let's call them Part A, Part B, and Part C:
Part A - Develop a Brand Ambition for your business.
The Brand Ambition clearly explains the major transformation you expect your BEST client to have in their long-term relationship with you. Keep in mind, you may not be able to offer this entire transformation with your current services. That's fine. This is an ambition. It's what you plan to grow into as a company. It's also an invitation for your BEST client to take this journey with you.
TEMPLATE #2 - WHAT DO YOU DO? - Brand Ambition
Template: [COMPANY NAME] specializes in [EXPERTISE]. We turn [FROGS] into [PRINCES]. As a result, these [PRINCES] experience [BIG BENEFIT].
Here a few thought starters to help you fill in the blanks.
- What is your company's greatest expertise? What are you known for? (EXPERTISE)
- Where are your BEST clients before they work with you? (FROGS)
- Where are your BEST clients after they experience your transformational work (PRINCES)
- What is the #1 thing your BEST client can now experience because they worked with you? (BIG BENEFIT)
Here is the Brand Ambition for Coveted Consultant:
Example: Permanently elevate the training standard for how to build a consulting practice. We transform intelligent, technically oriented, stalled leaders of consulting firms into insightful, inspired, business architects translating their specific expertise into a WOW experience for their BEST client.
Your Brand Ambition is your “rally cry”. It's the central idea that brings your employees, partners, vendors, and BEST client all together. But how do you measure your success against this vision? Great question. Keep reading.
Part B - Develop a Business Ambition for your business.
The Brand Ambition provides a vision for your business. The Business Ambition will provide simple measurements to understand your progress toward that vision.
TEMPLATE #2 - WHAT DO YOU DO? - Business Ambition
Template: Our success is measured by helping our BEST client navigate [MILESTONE 1, MILESTONE 2, MILESTONE 3]. We will change [X] number of lives/businesses/organizations by exposing/training/fixing elements [X,Y, and Z].
Here a few thought starters to help you fill in the blanks.
- What are the major sticking points for clients during transformation? [MILESTONE 1, 2, 3]
- What number of BEST clients do you need to put a “dent” in this issue? [X]
- What are the major benefits of working with your organization in this transformational way? [X,Y, and Z]
Here is the Business Ambition for Coveted Consultant:
Example: Build a tribe of 1,000 consultants armed with their own customized Coveted Consultant playbook. Their playbook will include a clear marketplace MESSAGE, profitable MARKETING funnel, and an efficient MANAGEMENT structure.
Your Business Ambition is how you measure success. The business ambition quickly clarifies which numbers deserve measuring and it's now easy to track your progress.
Need a little help? Download the article summary and walkthrough worksheet here.
Part C - Develop your BEST client testimonial
What will your BEST client say after they have experienced your transformational services? You may already have your perfect testimonial. If not, feel free to use the outline below to create one.
TEMPLATE #3 - WHAT DO YOU DO? - BEST Client Testimonial
Template: My name is [NAME]. Before I met [COMPANY NAME] I struggled with [ISSUES 1,2,3]. While working with the company I was introduced to [STRATEGY 1,2,3]. Now I experience [BENEFIT 1,2,3] and I feel [EMOTION 1,2,3].
Here a few thought starters to help you fill in the blanks.
- What are the major sticking points for your BEST client during transformation? [ISSUES 1, 2, 3]
- What three strategies does your company use to combat these sticking points? [STRATEGY 1, 2, 3]
- What are the major benefits of working with you in this transformational way? [BENEFIT 1, 2, 3]
- How will your BEST client feel after experiencing each strategy? [EMOTION 1, 2, 3]
Here is a client testimonial developed for Coveted Consultant:
My name is John Brown. Before I met Coveted Consultant I struggled trying to manage client acquisition, client service, and new employee training simultaneously as I grew my business. Coveted Consultant simplified the approach by helping me get re-aligned with my responsibility as the leader of the company. I needed to get reconnected with the core value proposition of my business and communicate it to my BEST client and support team.
Together we developed an overall MESSAGE for the company, decided on the best MARKETING model for me to attract/retain new clients, and solidified a MANAGEMENT model which lessened my daily responsibilities. I'm no longer flustered by an influx of new clients or startled by a sudden lack of new inquiries. I know which numbers matter most in my business and my vacation days are set months in advance. My business (and life) have taken on a much more peaceful rhythm.
This is an example of what your BEST client is going to say once they have experienced your BEST offering. Having this statement allows you to connect the dots in your services offerings. Are you treating your clients in such a way that this testimonial will be their logical conclusion?
You've just created a clear and concise picture of what your business is all about.
Together these three items (Brand Ambition, Business Ambition, and BEST client testimonial) create a clear and concise picture of what your business is all about. It is worth your time to think deliberately about your answers to these questions, because they guide YOU, your EMPLOYEES, and your CLIENTS.
They anchor ALL communications regarding your business
- You need to embrace your responsibility as leader and stay connected to the core value proposition of your business.
- Your employees need to know why they should even bother busting their hump to create something excellent.
- Your customers need to know what transformational results they should anticipate BEFORE they buy anything.
- Your partners (vendors, affiliates, outsourcers, etc) need to reminded why your business partnership is so valuable.
I understand these topics might be intuitive or obvious to you, but I bet they aren't written down anywhere. Furthermore, as your business grows you won't (can't) be the only person responsible for communicating your vision.
As more people join your team and communicate on your behalf they need clear instructions on how to communicate and THAT means we've got to get some thoughts on paper So that all communications (internal or external) revolve around the same messaging.
Congrats, you've just installed layer 2. Now on to layer three. Need a little help? Download the article summary and worksheet here
STEP 3: WHO DO YOU SERVE?
For just a second, picture the client who has been MOST excited to work with you.. If a past (current) client doesn't come to mind then create that client in your mind right now...
SEE their face.
SHAKE their hand.
FEEL their energy.
Now put yourself in a small group setting with 10 of these clients. They are sitting in a semi-circle completely engaged by the environment you've created. Not only are they excited to engage in the content, they are excited to engage with each other. It's a unique space...
Now, take this small group setting, multiply it by 10, and picture the event in a small theater. This makes 100 people ready to engage with you and the environment you've prepared. What does THAT feel like?
Now let's take it one step further...
Multiply THAT number by 10 and open up your customer relationship management tool (Infusionsoft, Aweber, Hubspot, etc). That's 1,000 names in your database who fit the same profile of the BEST client whose hand you shook in the beginning.
Can you see it?
You now have a database of 1,000 people that fit your BEST client profile. No tire-kickers. No freebie-seekers. No time-wasters. Just people who are serious about getting the problem solved and chose you and your company to help solve their (otherwise unsolvable) problem.
Now, here is the million dollar question...
Where did all these people COME from?
If you've done the work of identifying WHO belongs in your environment...it's so much easier to FIND them and ATTRACT them...over and over.
Like we said in the beginning, you need to identify your BEST client. The trick is you are going to have to find them before they are going to be able to find you. In other words, you are going to have to define who your BEST client is and go get them. Here is the definition again.
BEST Client = The client that loves your business SO much they continue to return to you no matter the competition and regardless of the cost.
Let's tackle a few myths about how your BEST client is IDENTIFIED and FOUND.
Myth #1: They don't exist. (If you believe this I can't help you. Close your browser and get out of business now.)
Myth #2: They won't pay a premium to solve their problem. (Starbucks proved people will pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee. Case closed.)
Myth #3: I should be able to acquire clients for free. (This just isn't true. Client acquisition comes at a cost...one way or another. Instead of arguing with me, just close your browser.)
I understand it can be very difficult (perhaps discouraging) to discuss your BEST client profile. Great clients seem so elusive. Sometimes it can feel like you are only allowed to have a great client once every 88 days on a solar eclipse during leap year...
Well I'm here with some good news. Given the tools available today on the internet, if you know just a little about your BEST client you can develop a very robust profile in minutes.
Here are three serious tools to help you execute:
TOOL #1 - WHO DO YOU SERVE? - Instant Demographic Data with Quantcast
- What demographic data do you already know about your BEST client?
- Do you know their age, gender, marital status, or zip code?
- Do you know ONE main competitor in the niche?
All you have to do is take a major competitor's website and put it in the search field. Quantcast immediately provides demographic data on your target. (As long as the competitors site gets enough traffic.)
Example: You are a fitness consultant and your core audience is men. You don't have a lot of hard data about your BEST client, but you DO know they read Men's Fitness magazine.
Take a look at what you learn when you put Men's Fitness url into Quantcast.
- Gender: Male
- Age: 18-34
- Kids: Maybe (data doesn't show a bias)
- Income: Ranges (data doesn't show a bias)
- Education: College educated (some grad school)
- Web visitors: Diverse
Quantcast shows it's data in comparison to the internet average. You can learn more on how to interpret the data here.
TOOL #2 - WHO DO YOU SERVE? - Instant Buyer Behavior Data with Amazon
- What does your BEST client buy?
- Who are the influencers your BEST client respects?
A simple search in Amazon will give you a lot of information about the purchases made by your best client.
Example: Let's build on the fitness consultant example. Now you have a more data on who your BEST client is so you go to Amazon to find out what they are buying.
Keep the search simple: I searched "Men's Fitness". I selected "books" from the left hand menu. I sorted by "new and popular" on the right hand menu. I chose the book search because we get to learn what they buy (the book) and who influences them (the author). It's a two for one!
Here is what the search revealed.
- The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris
- The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger
- The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up: A Breakthrough Medical Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Steven Masley and Douglas D. Schocken
(Here are a few more you can't see in the image)
- She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner
- Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition by Frederic Delavie
- The 17 Day Diet Breakthrough Edition by Dr. Mike Moreno
This search is just the beginning of what is possible. You can search books, physical products, digital products, or any sub-category you choose. The best part is Amazon tells you what's selling. You get to choose which of those products fits your BEST client. You can easily make a list of the top 5 - 10 products that fit and refine your BEST client profile.
TOOL #3 - WHO DO YOU SERVE? - Instant Targeted Advertising with Facebook
- Where can you find your BEST client is mass?
- Can you get access to them?
You've just done solid demographic and psychographic research. You've already done more than most conventional companies. But since we are on the road to building a Coveted business let's take things one more step.
Facebook allows for some of the most advanced, targeted advertising ever for small businesses. You can literally type in everything you learned from Quantcast and Amazon to find a targeted number of people that fit your exact BEST client profile.
Example: Let's take a third step in the fitness consulting example. We know who the BEST client is, but can we get access to them? We don't want to be chasing one or two clients. We need to know there is a pool of pre-qualified people interested in the kind of services offered.
(Take a look inside the red box)
Here are the demographics I typed into the ad editor:
- Gender: Male (Pulled from Quantcast data)
- Age: 18-34 (Pulled from Quantcast data)
- Relationship Status: Single (Made an assumption from Quantcast data)
- Education: College educated (Pulled from Quantcast data)
- Location: United States (Pulled from Quantcast data)
Here are the psychograhpics (interests) I typed into the ad editor:
- Men's Fitness magazine (major competitor)
- The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris (Pulled from Amazon search)
Facebook shows a potential reach (audience size) of 198,000 people. Your BEST client exists AND you can access them! You no longer have to guess if your BEST client exists or where they might be. Now you and you team can focus your energy on actually reaching and WOWing them!
So here is the point:
If you know there is value in having a BEST client profile, but got overwhelmed with the project in the past, you now know there are tools available to help you sharpen the profile and advertise to them directly. It's your loss if you don't use them.
You need a profile of your BEST client.
- Do you know their demographics and psychographics?
- Do you know what they buy?
- Can you locate them in mass?
Do the research. Your BEST client is waiting on you to find them.
With the completion of this step you've added the critically important layer of know who your BEST client is. For the final step, you will outline your BEST offer to match the expectations of your BEST client.
Final step coming up. Let's do it.
Need a little help? Download the article summary and worksheet here.
STEP 4: HOW DO YOU SERVE THEM?
What is the single, most powerful service you offer?
Do you remember how you felt when:
- You finally got your degree?
- When you managed to put your first website?
- Your very first client made their very first payment?
- You finally kicked that bad habit?
- You ended that bad (business or personal) relationship?
- How about the day when you KNEW you were never going to take another “9 to 5 job” again?
Each of these experiences is life-changing. Dare I say...TRANSFORMATIVE. It changes you forever. When you experience something like this, your inner voice says “I'm here now...and I'm not going back”
When you experience something transformative, your inner voice says “I'm here now...and I'm not going back. Create this same moment for your BEST client.”
Your job is to create an experience for your BEST client where once they experience your BEST offer, their inner voice says, “I'm here now...and I'm not going back.”
This kind of experience doesn't happen on accident. It happens on purpose.
- It happens by design.
- It's something you can spell out.
- It's an experience you can predict.
That doesn't mean that every client that works with you is going to have an epiphany, because you can't MAKE anyone DO anything.
But you can try your absolute BEST each and every time...to give your BEST client the highest level experience possible. This is the kind of VALUE your company should be known for and you OWE it to your BEST client to put this opportunity in front of them. Step 4 is about identifying the optimal experience for your BEST client. The highest VALUE program you can create (not necessarily the highest cost).
So very simply, how should you think about this?
Your client is at point A and wants to get to point B It look like this: A -----------> B
Point A is TERRIBLE! (insert expletives here)
Point B is AWESOME! (insert cheers here)
Your BEST client is trying to get from point A to point B on their own but the journey has challenges they never saw coming. It's overwhelming, frustrating, and just about impossible for them accomplish alone.
Think about the Wizard of Oz story. Dorothy and her team were on the yellow brick road trying to get to OZ, but there were lions, tigers, bears...(and other horrifying distractions). The good news is you've walked this road and you know how to help your BEST client avoid these challenges. You have the ability to create a program “tailor made” for their experience
High end consulting programs look like this:
a) Meet people where they are
b) Warn them about the upcoming dangers
c) Be with them as they walk to OZ
The KEY is: The nastier, scarier, more overwhelming the situation the more valuable the solution.
And as you become known for helping people solve nasty, hairy, ugly, overwhelming problems you begin to establish the all elusive “Coveted” positioning. The attached exercises are designed to help you spell out a) Where you BEST client is before they meet you b) Where they will be after they work with you c) What specific challenges you help them navigate along the way
Fill in the blanks. Tell your BEST client HOW YOU SERVE THEM!
TEMPLATE #4 - HOW DO YOU SERVE THEM?
Begin With a Diagnostic -What items or attitudes does your typical client have before working with you? -What items or attitudes should they “go and get” before working with you? -What items or attitudes do they need to STOP before working with you?
Major Issue #1 (LION) -What is the number one thing keeping them from their end goal. How will you confront that specifically?
Major Issue #2 (TIGER) -What is the number two thing keeping them from their end goal. How will you confront that specifically?
Major Issue #3 (BEAR) -What is the number three thing keeping them from their end goal. How will you confront that specifically?
End With a Diagnostic -What items or attitudes should they have NOW? -How will you check to make sure each is running properly. (You could provide a grade as well.) -Provide directions on next step.
It's important for you to focus on the BIGGEST solution you can offer today. It's also important to note the this program will NOT be a fit for everyone. It is specifically for your BEST client.
Starting with your most powerful solution will help you clearly state the scope of what is possible with your company. If necessary you can break it up into smaller services for clients at different places in the journey. As a final note, be careful not to create a “catch all” product that is vague (and therefore useless).
Instead focus on ONE, BIG specific problem and “follow the yellow brick road”. Get started with the exercise and create something great!
WHEN YOU FINISH ALL FOUR STEPS
You will finally have your own custom and precise responses to the toughest, most necessary questions your BEST client will ask when choosing between you and a competitor. Your Coveted positioning awaits...
STEP 1: WHO ARE YOU? What do you believe in? Why do you do this? Why should I listen to you at all?
STEP 2: WHAT DO YOU DO? What is your big picture for me and my situation?
STEP 3: WHO DO YOU SERVE? Who is the BEST fit for your services? Does this include me?
STEP 4: HOW DO YOU SERVE THEM? What can I expect as a client of yours? How do we work together? Is it going to be awesome?
You Are Moments Away From a Breakthrough
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You are moments away from being clearer than you've even been in your business. If you follow through on this exercise here are two things I see in your future:
Your competition will not take the time to do this. It's just too easy to be conventional, copy what other guy is doing, and hope for the best. Because you chose to care a little bit more about your business you will eat those companies for breakfast.
There is a person, right now, who is frustrated to no end because they don't know you exist. They've tried everything else and are moments away from concluding that their issue isn't solvable. Because you've taken the time to get clear you are now going to know who they are, where they are, and what to say when you find them.
Finish the exercise, claim your unique positioning, get all the BEST clients you can stand!
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed making it for you. How can I make this guide better?
Post a comment below.