A common question I get asked by coaches and consultants is “How do I attract more clients to my business?” The same question is asked by the majority of other business owners too!
My answer is almost always the same… “You need to differentiate yourself. You need to decide on and set your position in the marketplace.”
Positioning is a vital marketing principle which encompasses a number of elements of marketing.
Most businesses have more competitors today than ever before – just type in your profession as a keyphrase on Google and you’ll see an extremely long list for most categories.
To solve the problem, you need to be able to answer these questions:
“Why should a potential client select me, instead of one of my competitors?”
“All of us provide a similar quality and level of service, our pricing is much the same and we are every bit as accessible as each other, so what exactly makes us different?”
It’s tempting to think prospects will choose the lowest price, but in the majority of cases this isn’t true.
Repeated research has shown that price is rarely the most important factor in the decision to pick one supplier instead of another – in one such study, where buying criteria had to be listed in order of importance, price came out at number 6!
But if you think about it logically, if price WAS the main factor in a purchasing decision, there would be no luxury items, no premium goods and nothing which was considered “high quality.”
So, what does this have to do with differentiating your business?
For clients to pick you, you must be seen as different – to separate yourself from your competitors – in a way which gives a very good reason (or reasons) for someone to select you.
The best way to do this I know, (which works across any industry I have ever worked with), is to position yourself as the expert in what you do. In other words, if you were an accountant, you want people to think “Wow, there are loads of accountants out there, but ABC Accountancy are experts at saving consultants tax, they know more about saving tax than most other accountants.”
So, how would people come to that conclusion about ABC Accountancy?
What if they published a book, “How To Better Manage Your Accounts As An Consultant, And Ways You Can (Legally) Pay Less Tax”?
What if they ran free seminars or webinars on tax savings for consultants?
What if they ran Question and Answer sessions for consultants to solve their finance-related queries?
And what if they also used the seminars and Q&A sessions to promote the book? A local radio station or local newspaper could pick up on the ‘story’, interview the author about the book, and why they wrote it. If not, it’s a great PR opportunity for you to approach them with!
If you’re lucky (and it was relevant to your target audience), this could also lead to greater exposure with a a news story on local television or radio.
So, setting your position as ‘the expert’ means doing something away from the ‘norm’ which stands you out as being the expert. You could…
- Write a book.
- Get published in a regular news column.
- Hold seminars or Webinars.
- Build relationships with reporters and editors, then let them know they can turn to you whenever they need information for a story involving your area of expertise.
- Create a “hotline” to answer questions in your area of expertise.
- Issue a press release which lists you as an information resource.
It doesn’t matter WHAT you do… anybody can become the ‘go-to’ person for information in their particular field.
If you don’t believe you are able, or don’t think you have the time to write a book, there are ghost-writers for hire who can write it on your behalf – I’ve ghost-written books, articles and press-releases for a number of experts – so anyone can choose this route.
There are many reasons why you should take this approach, but the two I want to share with you are, firstly, it allows you to compete with the “big boys” in your industry or specialist field, and the second is you won’t ever have to compete on price again… people seek you out BECAUSE you are the leading authority in what you do. Lots of people will pay a premium price to hire “the best.”
Buying is really as much about the “experience” as anything else, so if you create a better buying experience, you will create a loyal base of clients who won’t just buy from you time and again, but who will also talk about their experience of dealing with you, which is the most powerful form of advertising there is.
How have you differentiated yourself?
I’d love to hear your views on this post – both positive and negative – so please add your comment in the box below.