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Here is something I figured out early on in my business career although I didn’t have a name for it way back then. Today I know it as “positioning” more particularly positioning you and your business as the only logical choice for your clients and prospects to do business with… in spite of any other likely competitor.
I could argue it is this thing above everything that has allowed me to enjoy an extraordinary business life in every sense of the word.
Nobody seeks out the Wise Man at the bottom of the mountain!
You must position yourself at the top of the hypothetical mountain; project some exclusivity!
When you position yourself so qualified prospects find out about you or at least have the feeling of discovering you, they will seek you out to gain from your expertise in solving their problems.
Resistance to sales will increase or decrease, depending on whether a prospect finds and approaches you, or you find and approach them.
This means you must position yourself where you are likely to be found.
In my own case the books, manuals and seminars I run, position me in such a way I am on the ‘front foot’ rather than back foot. The credibility and notoriety I gain by using these methods, alters the sales process for me. I try and position myself as a ‘expert/authority’. By doing so people are predisposed to do business with me at my price and on my terms. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
If Your Positioning is Right, You Can Have a Very Powerful Selling Tool at Your Disposal –
“Take Away Selling”
Which do you perceive to be better? A hair salon where you have to make an appointment a week in advance or one where you walk in off the street and get your hair cut. Nobody goes to see the wise man at the bottom of the mountain – you must position yourself at the top of the mountain. Create the impression people will have to scale the hypothetical mountain to get to you. You must project some exclusivity.
So what is ‘take-away’ selling? It is when people can see how buying from you or procuring your services will benefit them. But it’s not going to be too easy for them to reach you. They can see it, but they can’t quite have it and so they desire it with more urgency!
One particular Landscape Gardener I coached used this technique during the sales process. His spiel sounds something like this …
“At ‘Green Garden Landscape’ you are dealing with a company that personally oversees your whole project from the design, excavating, demolishing and construction using our own teams of qualified trade people to bring your dreams to reality with little disruption to daily life.
You see, we guarantee to finish on time and on budget. Now you may be comfortable with a more conventional one man band jack-of-the-trade type of landscaper who is not as selective about taking in work”…
(My client then takes out his address book and says )
“If you would like to entrust your landscaping to someone who prefers to operate like that, I can recommend several landscapers. But if you would like us to prepare rough drawings for you we can get underway immediately.”
Take Away Selling is positioning from start to finish. It basically says, “I’m picky about who I accept as a client. Do you qualify?”
I didn’t invent this. In major cities like New York and LA there are apartment buildings where you can’t rent an apartment. To meet the standards required for you to rent or buy there, you must be sponsored by an existing tenant, your application is put to the vote by all the existing tenants … you have to jump through hoops just to be permitted to buy/rent.
Many Doctors, Hair Stylists, Therapists, Attorneys and such, have what we call Leading Lists Practices.
Why shouldn’t you carry this air of exclusivity over to your business? The point is if you have enough business flow, enough big prospects being magnetically attracted to you, you will have to say “no” to some and in the final analysis, your positioning will become your position.
Take Away Selling is very powerful psychologically. Everybody wants the tickets they can’t get – the ones to get you into that exclusive club. Stepping back from a prospect draws him to you, stepping toward him drives him away. This very same phenomenon occurs in any relationship, whether business or personal. Try it as an experiment. In conversation, move physically away from the other person and watch as she/he moves towards you. Now step closer to him/her and they’ll step back. It’s no different in the less tangible area of the psyche.
So, I want to be positioned from the very beginning with credibility and status, so my clients eagerly pursue me, rather than me having to do the pursuing.
Fake It, Until You Make it.
What if you’re just starting out? For sales people already doing well, but seeking the ‘break-through’, to truly exceptional success, I will give you one basic example.
Imagine while you were out of the office a really hot prospect called. Somebody whose name you recognised, and whom you’d love to get an appointment with. When do you call that person back? Immediately, later that day, or the next day?
I’m here to tell you even if you have no-one else to call, nowhere to go and nothing to do, you do not even contemplate returning call immediately! Where are you on ‘that mountain’, at the top or the bottom? You just cannot afford to appear overly eager or too easily accessible.
You might think “Hey, I’ll demonstrate how responsive I am, how good I am with providing service”. Well that may apply after the sale, but not before, and if that sounds gimmicky, I’m sorry but I’ve just been straight with you.
The prospect’s respect for you diminishes if you are too easy to get to!
I personally now, genuinely, struggle to return calls quickly and that’s simply because my positioning has become my position. It takes me between three days to a week now to return many of my calls, or they get delegated to a scheduled appointment.
First decide upon, define, stake out and courageously
claim your position.
Then behave as such a position demands.
You also have to work seriously on validating the position, and before you know it, the positioning you’ve created for marketing purposes becomes your actual position.
If you have read Al Ries and Jack Trouts book “The Battle For Your Mind”, on positioning and their “Twenty Two Innumerable Laws of Marketing” you gain a far deeper understanding of positioning as strategy, than if you have read “Phyco-Cybernetics”, by the late physiological author Dr Maxwell Maltz’, or “Release Your Brakes”, by Jim Newman.
If you read the works of prosperity conscientious authors like Catherine Ponder and Stuart Wild, you see positioning is a powerful application to self-fulfilling prophecy. Then if you really study the works and understand the meaning of Napoleon Hill’s dominant thought principal, as I call it, the secrets Dr Hill refers to at the beginning of his book, you will gain more clarity about “what” to do and “how” to do it. You will then occupy the position you have worked hard to reach.
Unfortunately corporate Australia and the academic fraternity, insist on conditioning us to believe we need something else to “position” us . . . a degree, a title. But if I adhered to that regulation in the entrepreneurial world, I would’ve starved … and so will you!
My own experience is a case in point. After 24+ years buying and selling run-down or under-performing businesses and selling them for massive profits, I met with a close personal lawyer friend, for a cup of coffee. I asked him whether he thought the business world would want to know “how I did it”? His reply was “Where is your degree, qualification?”. I thought “Yes he is right! Why would anyone want to listen to me?” And it set me back 6 to 12 months!
The deafening moral of that story is … don’t always listen to well meaning friends and relatives!
The irony of all this is I regularly speak to a packed houses of over 600+ people. One time the University of Western Australia ran the event and paid the bills. And they also enquired about hiring me for my coaching advice. Not bad for a high school ‘drop-out’, who swore off education at the age of 15.
In the real world of business, it works the opposite way to that we are led to believe. The super successful person firstly decides on his position, then backs it up with achievement.
I have never ever been asked for my “qualifications” by a prospect or client, and I have worked from ma and pa fish shops to publicly listed companies.
From a market perspective the need for academic qualifications has become less important. The market place today is instead results orientated. If they believe you can get the job done it seems to matter less what your qualifications are.
So position yourself as an expert in your niche and be obeyed like a heart surgeon and treated as a king not a pauper in business.
All the best,
Committed to Elevating the Financial Wealth and Wellbeing of Society
Through Entrepreneurial Excellence and Guilty of Conspiracy to Create Capitalism
P.S. If you’ve missed any of my previous Rants, I have them all available
for you to see on my website.
Simply go to www.rebelliousrant.com and enjoy!
Posted on March 25, 2010 - 07:46 PM- Updated on March 25, 2010 - 07:46 PM