The best way to get customers to sell your product or service for you is by positioning yourself to be worth talking about.
I talk a lot about the power of positioning in my videos and how important it is for professional service providers to adopt positioning in their business, brand and marketing. Positioning typically refers to the space your brand occupies in the hearts and minds of your customers and how they distinguish your brand/product/service from your competitors. Owning and establishing your position in the market is vital to your future success. If you are not creating your own position, you are being labelled and boxed by others, and you are not in control of your own narrative.
Perception and positioning are at the core of good marketing. You have to tell, signal and sell the kind of brand you want to be. By using positioning tactics, you can curate an image for consumers for how you want to be perceived. Positioning can be used in very different ways– especially for service providers. Below are the key types of positioning that you can implement to better establish your business.
1. Positioning Based on YOU–Sell YOURSELF.
In the service world, you are selling yourself. Without positioning, your services are selected because of a job to be done. Your designation is qualified to solve their issue, and theres no shortage of competition that could also help their problem. When you invest in positioning, people are hiring you because you are the best person for the job. It doesn’t matter if you are the best already, if you are not communicating outwardly that you are the best, you are losing.
Strategic positioning tells customers that they cannot hire anybody else for the job. If you are the best and are able to properly communicate such you will capture the majority of the business, as it would be a mistake for anyone in a stressful or high-context situation not to choose the best!
To establish a positioning for yourself, you must invest in owning a macro script that describes the benefit of your offering. People want to buy a solution. So your position must focus on how you:
- Make their lives better
- Approach your industry/or their problems in a unique way
- Have an interesting life experience that differentiates you
Narrowing your focus to a single characteristic may seem limiting, but in reality, it provides more for your brand identity than a list of various characteristics. Creating a microscript for yourself helps people storytell. People sell others through stories– by creating an easy-to-share microscript, you allow others to sell your services for you.
Think of product-based brands that focus on positioning themselves as industry leaders based on one characteristic. Volvo owns safety, not safety, speed and sleek design. Although you can find these other qualities in their vehicles, all of their marketing efforts focus on safety. Volvo is known as the safest car brand in the world–it hasn’t been in years but the microscript works. People want to drive a safe car, so when buying, people think of Volvo instantly and will share this brands microscript with others when car shopping or will use it themselves when making a buying decision.
The same strategy applies to service providers, but instead of talking about a tangible product, you focus on the experience.
If you’re a lawyer, is your defining characteristic that you’re ruthless and won’t take no for an answer? If you’re a medical spa, are you owning “positive aging” and empowerment?
What’s most important is ensuring that the characteristic you’re marketing matches your client’s actual experience.
2. Positioning based on PRICE.
Service providers most commonly use this strategy because they don’t know how to differentiate themselves.
Most people see positioning based on price as discounts, price slashing & promotions, but they fail to realize that higher prices can also be a differentiating factor.
You can aim to be the cheapest option in the market if you think that’s what your ideal client is looking for, but as a service provider, you’re selling time, and there’s a finite amount of that.
Pricing yourself based on value helps you stand out. Do you solve your client’s issues for less time, pain or headache? That’s valuable; charge more. Depending on your industry, there’s likely a gap in the market at a specific price point that you can dominate. People like to pay for quality, and they will–but your brand has to match. In fact, if you have a strong brand but a price that’s too low, you will lack credibility, and you will lose business. Think about it; we’ve all seen luxury designer stores, and you can tell the brand is expensive; imagine if you walked in and the purses in glass were $20; you would think they are fake and would leave.
On the other hand, if your price is high and your brand is weak, outdated or just sucks, it won’t match the price point, and you will lose business.
Pricing positioning is important, but only if it matches your overall brand. Matching your price to your messaging is effective– but it has to be done strategically.
3. Positioning based on QUALITY.
While there is a correlation between price and quality for most businesses, quality as a positioning strategy is quite different from price.
Quality, in our terms, refers to value– that can extend to offering a good product at a fair price or getting a great product that goes above and beyond that’s captured by a strong price.
Think of luxury brands like Chanel or Gucci; they never mention price in their marketing because their ideal customer will buy their product regardless of price. They position themselves based on prestige, which alludes to quality.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, brands position themselves based on quality without using prestige. Think of President’s Choice, for example. This brand always strives to provide the highest quality product, whether that’s food that’s better for you, products that are made with better ingredients, etc. While they push for quality, you don’t assume a higher price point because they don’t lean into prestige.
If you’re positioning based on quality – you need to understand what your consumer values. This strategy is a great alternative to price positioning because it alludes to price without screaming “discount spa” or “bargain lawyer.”
4. Positioning based on USES OF SERVICE.
This is another positioning strategy that’s often missed by businesses. Positioning based on use shows the ways in which your services make their lives better. The famous marketing adage goes, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”. When it comes to positioning your business, you don’t want to directly share more ways to sell your service but instead how many ways your service creates a better outcome.
In the product world, positioning by use is about finding creative ways to highlight the various uses for their product. For example, Command, the brand that creates stickers & hooks for in-home use, positions its product as the perfect way to hang your holiday decor damage-free. Their initial product wasn’t developed for this purpose, but this unique use case drives sales during the holiday season and is a key element to their positioning.
For service providers, this can be positioned by way of customer testimonials or overall stats by how much money, time, and pain you save your customers. Instead of messaging that you sell houses, you market that you make clients richer. Based on this example, what Realtor would you choose?
Positioning is the cornerstone of effective marketing– it extends to all areas of your business. Your messaging, imaging and brand feel should all be rooted in the different positioning strategies that were outlined in this article. In short, positioning matters. You want your brand to communicate why you are the best person for the job, and doing this effectively will radically transform your business.
Thanks for reading,
Camille & Hannah