As a speaker, consultant or business owner, have you struggled with how to position yourself in the marketplace in order to create demand and eliminate the need to compete based upon price?
To solve these common problems, you have to begin by answering some fundamental questions.
Last week, the National Speakers Association (NSA) held its annual convention in San Diego, California, and although I was unable to attend in person, they did provide some of the sessions via live stream, which was a great opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best speakers, authors and consultants.
One of my favorite sessions was from Hall of Fame Speaker and The Million Dollar Consultant® – Alan Weiss. I’ve long been a Fan of Mr. Weiss’ advice and approach. His Million Dollar Speaking: The Professional’s Guide to Building Your Platform book was one of the first that I read after starting my business in 2010. It’s full of great advice, examples and tips not only related to the business of speaking, but how to become an in-demand expert through effective positioning in the marketplace.
In his 75-minute talk at #NSA14 – “Million Dollar Positioning: How to Position Yourself as the Expert” – Mr. Weiss shared the basics of creating a Positioning Statement/Value Statement to convey expertise, value delivery and ultimately price in a crowded and noisy marketplace.
Figure out what you love – and what you’re best at. Take everything else away.
When you’re working at your best and highest value, you’re creating a great piece of art. And to create the great work of your life, you have to find what you love to do – and what you’re great at – and then carve away everything else.
It’s rumored that when asked how he carved out the amazingly beautiful and intricate David from a big square block of marble, Michelangelo replied, “I just took away everything that wasn’t David.”
Creating an effective and artful Positioning Statement is no different. Cull away things that aren’t really you or that you aren’t enthusiastic about so you can create your masterpiece.
Tell people how they’ll be better off after working with you.
Your Positioning Statement needs to answer these questions for your potential buyer:
How will you improve them?
What is the real value that you bring?
Ideally, you’re approach will be a bit edgy and provocative, and show that you think a bit differently. That way, your audience will want more – and because what you offer is unique, they’ll be willing to pay more to get it.
Position yourself as an Expert – not as a Speaker, Author, Consultant
There are hundreds and thousands of speakers, authors, consultants, etc. in the world, which means there is plenty of choice.
Buyers don’t want to hire just anyone, they want to hire experts. And if you’re not considered “The Expert”, you’re just a commodity – and you’ll always be treated as such in terms of price and opportunity.
Don’t just be a “delivery alternative” in your industry or profession. Be The Expert – which means you’ll need to create new and unique ideas, products and services that separate you from the rest.
Tip: Once you determine your area of expertise, you can then determine how to deliver it, but don’t mix in methodology in your Positioning Statement.
For example, don’t say: “Through coaching and consulting I create change that impacts strategic objectives.”
That kind of statement isn’t unique or compelling, and it doesn’t answer the most important question: “After I walk away from you, how will I be better off because I met you?”
Effective Position Statements: Examples
“I help small business owners accelerate their business and lead a fabulous life.”
“I help you to reduce stress so you can make rational and powerful decisions about your life.”
Always opinionated and full of great one-liners, Mr. Weiss (@BentleyGTCSpeed on Twitter) also reeled off some great quotes during his presentation – and all of which just happened to be less than 140 characters. (Check them out below, and if you like one or more, just click the link to tweet it out!)
“Wealth isn’t money. Wealth is discretionary time. You can always make another dollar, but you cannot make another minute.” @BentleyGTCSpeed
“The greatest damage to excellence is from the pursuit of perfection.” @BentleyGTCSpeed
“Self-esteem is an action that creates self-confidence. You have to work on it everyday. Tell yourself what you do well.” @BentleyGTCSpeed
“Confidence is the belief you can help other people. Arrogance is the belief that you have nothing to learn yourself.” @BentleyGTCSpeed
I really enjoyed the session and took plenty of notes to take action and implement in my own expertise branding journey. And I appreciate the National Speakers Association for making this session available. I’d love to attend the event in-person next year!
Question: What’s your Value Statement? Share it with me in the Comments section. I’d love to learn from you and help others find your expertise!