Are You Positioned as one of Few Credible Substitutes in Your Market?

Galen De Young ( @GalenDY ) | June 28, 2010 · 1 comment | Positioning

Image of business trying to determine its positioning strategyIn today’s economy, no one wants to turn away business. But smart marketers are positioning themselves to do just that.

Most companies fall into the trap of positioning the company as broadly as possible, trying to be relevant to the broadest number of potential purchasers. That way, any lead or inquiry has opportunity. But this approach creates a broad range of lead quality and makes you chase nearly every lead, eating up large amounts of time and money. And as you try to close that business, you’ll be competing as a generalist. You’ll fight hard to get on the short list; you’ll be competing with other generalists and with specialists.

The generalists are going to fight it out, despite their generalist positioning, to be perceived as having the necessary expertise and insight. And in the end, most times, the generalists are going to battle it out on price to get the business.

The specialists are going to have the inside track. They’re perceived as the experts. They are going to get to the short list much quicker than the generalists. They’re going to get recruited from further away. And their going to get paid more than the generalists.

Why do the specialists get the inside track, get on the short list easily, serve a broader territory, and typically get paid much more? It’s because they position themselves as specialists. They’ve narrowed their positioning until they’re seen as one of few credible substitutes in their market.

Not only do these narrowly positioned specialists reap these benefits, but they also avoid a lot of churn related to managing leads that don’t fit, saving a lot on sales expense. First of all, the leads they get are on target; their prospects can easily tell what they do and whether the company is a good fit for them, so they don’t get lots of questionable leads. Secondly, they can very easily say no to leads that don’t make sense for them, that don’t fit their more narrowed expertise. They’re good at saying no. In other words, they don’t spend time and money chasing ill-fitting opportunities.

What do you want your company to be?

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