A/E/C Firm Positioning

A/E/C Firm Positioning

Note: This is a tran­script of an episode about Posi­tion­ing Your Firm from PSM — Pro­fes­sion­al Ser­vices Mar­ket­ing Show pod­cast. Hosts David Lecours and Josh Miles share best prac­tices for A/E/C firm posi­tion­ing.


Lis­ten Here

Vis­it PSM.show for more episodes


Sum­ma­ry

  • What is Posi­tion­ing?
  • Why posi­tion­ing your firm can be painful?
  • Ver­ti­cal vs. hor­i­zon­tal vs. both in posi­tion­ing strate­gies
  • How long should your posi­tion­ing last?
  • Tem­plate for your posi­tion­ing state­ment
  • Where do you use a posi­tion­ing state­ment
  • Why firms avoid posi­tion­ing

PSM.show hosts David Lecours and Josh Miles

Episode 108 on A/E/C Firm Positioning

Announc­er: Wel­come to PSM. The Pro­fes­sion­al Ser­vices Mar­ket­ing Pod­cast. It’s insight applied.

David Lecours: Hel­lo and wel­come to PSM show. If it’s about pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices mar­ket­ing, we’ll be cov­er­ing it here. I’m David Lecours and this is Episode 108. Josh, Hap­py New Year. Did you have a nice hol­i­day?

Josh Miles: sure did. We’re still clean­ing up a lit­tle bit of the cham­pagne over here.

David Lecours: Nice. We had guests and it’s always great to have fam­i­ly come but it’s prob­a­bly even bet­ter to have them leave.

Josh Miles: How can we miss them if they won’t go away?

David Lecours: That’s right. Absolute­ly so cool. I’m excit­ed about our top­ic today. Do you want to tell us what it is?

Josh Miles: Yes some­thing near and dear to my heart. And today it’s all about posi­tion­ing. So does that mean we’re your firm is locat­ed?

David Lecours: It could. How­ev­er, it’s not a neces­si­ty. What posi­tion­ing real­ly refers to and I real­ly think of posi­tion­ing as kind of the foun­da­tion of all mar­ket­ing. You know it’s what you do. It’s who you do it for. And then it’s how your dif­fer­en­tia­tor ben­e­fits those tar­get audi­ences. So it real­ly requires some some­times painful deci­sion mak­ing because you have to decide what you’re going to be and that often means what you’re going to not be. And my expe­ri­ence. I love your take on this is don’t you find it that mar­keters real­ly have trou­ble nar­row­ing their posi­tion­ing?

Josh Miles: I think it’s kind of a clas­sic case of peo­ple say­ing well we don’t want to be pigeon­holed for some­thing or we don’t want to be stuck only known for this one par­tic­u­lar thing. So I think peo­ple tend to espe­cial­ly cre­ative­ly mind­ed peo­ple tend to fight against the idea of hav­ing to do some­thing that’s so tight and so nar­row that they’re going to be just screw­ing caps on bot­tles for the rest of their lives.

David Lecours: I think you know one of the things I have in here is well what about AECOMM? You know they work in. You know I don’t know how many but let’s say 12 dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cal mar­kets and they offer 12 dif­fer­ent ser­vices and it’s prob­a­bly more like twelve hun­dred of each. And I always say well when you get to be AECOMM you can do that too. But until then I think it helps. And you know when you have a firm that size with that many resources, then it makes sense. But yeah I’ve also found that those cre­ative folks, and I put engi­neers and archi­tects and even con­sul­tants and even some­times accoun­tants.

David Lecours: You know trou­ble you know mak­ing those hard deci­sions.

Josh Miles: when you think to your point on AECOMM part of a com­pa­ny like that that is just mas­sive in size and scale. And in all the mar­kets that they work in, that is their posi­tion­ing.

David Lecours: Exact­ly. Yes.

Josh Miles: We are half of the world of pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices. So that’s why you come to us because we are a force to be reck­oned with. So they don’t have to get super nar­row because they can say we are the only AECOMM.

David Lecours: In fact, in their posi­tion­ing state­ment there is a line about we take on the world’s largest prob­lems and you know until your firm can take on the world’s largest prob­lems it’s prob­a­bly best to leave that posi­tion­ing to them. So yeah you’re right that is in fact their posi­tion­ing. But yeah I mean I had my expe­ri­ence is that clients to your clients here I’m talk­ing to our audi­ence here they real­ly do want to hire experts and it’s real­ly dif­fi­cult to build mean­ing­ful exper­tise if you’re rein­vent­ing your ser­vice offer­ings every time you take on a new client while I get there’s a there’s an addic­tion and there’s prob­a­bly an adren­a­line rush to that we call that sort of jump­ing off the div­ing board and invent­ing water on the way down. It’s not a real sus­tain­able way to work. You know you’re going to crash and hit the pave­ment if that water isn’t vent­ed in time. So yeah I think posi­tion­ing requires some tough deci­sions in order to get to a place where you can real­ly demon­strate your exper­tise.

Josh Miles: I think the exper­tise is real­ly what it comes down to is this idea of being the only your being the leader in space or being the the ones who can help a client through a par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge or prob­lem or you know know­ing that you’re bring­ing some­body on who’s who’s seen this before. Sort of akin to the sur­geon like you don’t have some­body oper­ate on your shoul­der who is like, “well,I usu­al­ly do feet. But yeah. What the heck I’ll try a shoul­der.”

David Lecours: Right, I can do it. Yeah. I’ve got a scalpel. Well they’re cer­tain­ly dif­fer­ent parts of the anato­my. And, to that end, you know you can have dif­fer­ent ser­vices and you can work in dif­fer­ent mar­kets but you need to sort of come up with a com­pelling way to wrap those two togeth­er. I like to say, “you can be a bar­tender and a waste­water engi­neer, but you bet­ter have dif­fer­ent busi­ness cards.”

Josh Miles: Exact­ly. I don’t think I want the glass from the same guy.

David Lecours: No def­i­nite­ly not. So you know to fur­ther elab­o­rate if it’s not clear. Yeah you can work in rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent spaces but you need to have dif­fer­ent mar­ket­ing plans and dif­fer­ent posi­tion­ing for each of those very dif­fer­ent spaces. So we’re kind of talk­ing a lit­tle bit about you know dif­fer­ent types of posi­tion­ing and sort of the clas­si­cal you know ways to look at this is work­ing in ver­ti­cal mar­kets ver­sus hor­i­zon­tal or a com­bi­na­tion. You want to sort of unpack that a lit­tle bit Josh? in sort of what those dif­fer­ent terms mean. Case we’re in a clear.

Josh Miles: Yeah absolute­ly. So when I think of ver­ti­cals I typ­i­cal­ly think of indus­tries. So this could be things like edu­ca­tion or health care or pub­lic works or you’ve got these dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cal mar­kets that you go into and then hor­i­zon­tal for me and maybe you look at this dif­fer­ent­ly would be sort of the areas of exper­tise for the prac­tice areas or the stu­dios in which your firm works so you know in a real­ly huge prac­tice you might have an inte­ri­or design prac­tice and you might also have MEP engi­neer­ing and you might also have struc­tur­al engi­neer­ing and you know most firms don’t have a diver­si­ty of a spread but you have those dif­fer­ent areas that you do work and have spe­cial­ties and then those dif­fer­ent areas that you are sort of the clients that you inter­act with.

David Lecours: Right. So yeah it’s just kind of sim­pli­fy or sum­ma­rize so ver­ti­cals tend to be more mar­kets and hor­i­zon­tals tend to be more ser­vices. Now where I think you know if firms if you’re sort of think­ing about these dif­fer­ent options where a firm can be real­ly com­pelling is when they com­bine those two things togeth­er. So let’s say they are work­ing specif­i­cal­ly in health­care and they are spe­cial­ists in inte­ri­or design. So when those two things come togeth­er now they’re real­ly start­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from all the oth­er peo­ple that work in health­care and all the oth­er peo­ple that are inte­ri­or design­ers.

Josh Miles: Yeah it’s a much tighter posi­tion­ing when you can say we’re the only you know inte­ri­or design firm who spe­cial­izes in can­cer rehab. You know you can have these very tight ways to go to mar­ket when you’ve got very spe­cif­ic tar­get both in the ser­vice line and in the prac­tice area and there are cer­tain­ly advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages to both. You

David Lecours: know if you’re focus­ing in spe­cif­ic ver­ti­cal mar­kets it’s much eas­i­er to find the clients that you’ve cho­sen to seek. You know you can most like­ly there’s some sort of trade orga­ni­za­tion you can join that you can buy lists of peo­ple because they’ve already self-iden­ti­fied as work­ing in health­care or edu­ca­tion. Hor­i­zon­tal it’s a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult but it cer­tain­ly can be done and there is prob­a­bly a lit­tle more vari­ety if you are just focus­ing in a hor­i­zon­tal ser­vice. But again it’s tough to get that lev­el of exper­tise.

Josh Miles: You know one of the things that I like to walk clients through is this idea of per­cep­tu­al map­ping which is kind of a fun way to look ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal­ly from a visu­al stand­point. And one of the most basic ways you can break that down is you know do you do one thing or do you do a myr­i­ad of things. So

Josh Miles: I would put like on the x-axis left to right is kind of your breadth of ser­vices. So if you pic­ture the left side is we do every­thing on the right side as we do one thing and then on the y-axis could be just price. So the bot­tom of the y-axis is we charge rock bot­tom base­ment prices and the top is we’re super pre­mi­um so you can start to map out where you fall on that grid and where your com­peti­tor falls on that grid and then you start to see light. Are we all kind of crowd­ed around the mid­dle of fight­ing for the same thing or are we all fight­ing over the price because we’re com­mod­i­ty ties and we do every­thing and we’re on dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed or are we super dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed to the point where we charge those pre­mi­um prices so that we can real­ly get great demand for our exper­tise. And then you can do the same x y per­cep­tu­al map­ping thing for any of those ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion­ing ele­ments and kind of see how you match up and how your com­pe­ti­tion falls on that chart for each of those posi­tion­ing areas.

David Lecours: Yes that’s a real­ly great way to do it because it’s a visu­al tool that you real­ly quick­ly can see where the open­ing is and I’m not sure in the begin­ning if we real­ly clar­i­fied wide posi­tion­ing mat­ters but the whole goal is to carve out an open space to real­ly own a par­tic­u­lar space you know in this case with­in those lit­tle baps years get­ting a visu­al feed­back of it. But yeah it’s the idea of dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing your firm so you’re not just a com­mod­i­ty you’re not just one of many. You know hav­ing to always only com­pete on price. You want to be per­ceived as this expert and offer­ing some­thing tru­ly unique and mean­ing­ful to your client.

Josh Miles: Yeah. Back in the day. Maybe not even all that long ago every­one said oh we’re just an attack on sus­tain­abil­i­ty to our posi­tion­ing. And every­body was say­ing the same thing and all of a sud­den you find out you’re like you’re all in the same room. So you all strange­ly sound the same when you Taga­met on so you know those lit­tle things that become trends that real­ly take off and then it’s a sort of unex­pect­ed ele­ment of you know being a good busi­ness.

David Lecours: So that brings up some­thing that I’m think­ing about as you know. How long should a firm’s posi­tion­ing last?

Josh Miles: Wow that is a fan­tas­tic ques­tion. I guess my gut feel­ing would be it should only last as long as it makes sense and as long as it’s prof­itable.

David Lecours: Yeah you know so I sort of teed this up because even­tu­al­ly we want to have the Image Sev­en folks back on. If you’re new to our pod­cast Josh and I adopt­ed this pod­cast from a firm in Aus­tralia that had sort of two posi­tion­ing areas of focus. One was in edu­ca­tion­al mar­ket­ing and one was in pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices mar­ket­ing. They chose to nar­row their posi­tion­ing and they elim­i­nat­ed the pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices and thus they reached out to us to adopt the pod­cast. They are just now work­ing in the edu­ca­tion­al mar­ket­ing space so posi­tion­ing isn’t for­ev­er. I think you should approach it per­haps and this is just my opin­ion. I think you should approach it as if it is for­ev­er so you take it seri­ous­ly. But you re-eval­u­ate say every three to five years every time you look at your strate­gic plan and say hey is the mar­ket­place still respond­ing? Are we still rel­e­vant? Are we sort of as posi­tioned as we think we are when we first launched this posi­tion­ing?

Josh Miles: Yeah absolute­ly I think to go into it with the at least the short term view that this is for­ev­er. Yes that sounds real­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry. The short-term view that it’s for­ev­er but at least think­ing about it as OK if we had to do one thing for­ev­er would it be and start doing that now. And I think very much to Image Seven’s cred­it as you said at the top of the show. They had those two posi­tion­ing. But when you went to the Web site it was real­ly clear you need to either go in one door or the oth­er being some sort of vir­tu­al ver­sion of two busi­ness cards and they made two pod­casts.

Josh Miles: So they had the absolute ver­sion of this show that’s just edu­ca­tion focused as well which is real­ly cool.

David Lecours: And I think I won’t speak for them but I’m just going to guess is that that takes a lot of work. Right. So now you’re mar­ket­ing almost two sep­a­rate brands. Two sep­a­rate pod­casts two sep­a­rate e-mail lists two sep­a­rate ways you do pro­pos­als. And well I can’t wait to hear from them but my guess is that that just became unwieldy and they real­ized that while they could actu­al­ly be deep­er experts if they weren’t split­ting their time between these two areas and they could nar­row their focus and go deep­er so.

Josh Miles: Well that’s a lit­tle teas­er we’re going to hear from them when we inter­view them some­thing maybe David you could talk about is let’s see I get this super niche. Sor­ry, that’s my Mid­west com­ing out. You can say “niche” if you just have pinkies out as far as I’m con­cerned. But you’re super niche posi­tion­ing. And then there’s real­ly gen­er­al oppor­tu­ni­ty walks in the door that looks inter­est­ing. What do you what do you do with that? If it doesn’t real­ly fall with­in your stat­ed posi­tion­ing?

David Lecours: I believe that posi­tion­ing is about the work that you seek, not nec­es­sar­i­ly what you accept. So posi­tion­ing is what you’re doing in terms of proac­tive mar­ket­ing: the things that you’re going out into the world and seek­ing. But if a great oppor­tu­ni­ty presents itself then and gosh darn it if you’ve got a hole in your pipeline for incom­ing work, of course, you take that work or it may just be an incred­i­ble new oppor­tu­ni­ty that some­body believes you can do effec­tive­ly because you’re so well posi­tioned in this oth­er space it might be some com­ple­men­tary type of work say you’re amaz­ing at health care specif­i­cal­ly in the sci­ences and then a lab comes to you and says Hey can you design our lab then yeah, of course, you take that on and that’s one of the biggest mis­con­cep­tions about posi­tion­ing is that if you’re going to some­how put these blind­ers on and nev­er be able to accept work out­side the domains that you are estab­lish­ing.

Josh Miles: And I think the real­i­ty is so long is that you know that odd­ball project that is attrac­tive and prof­itable is some­thing that your cur­rent staff can exe­cute on. So it’s assum­ing you’re not you know to use your waste­water engi­neer ear­li­er that if you have a room full of those guys and this is a road or bridge project that shows up obvi­ous­ly that’s that’s maybe not the best fit but to have some­thing that is a lit­tle bit out­side of your posi­tion­ing you can still han­dle absolute­ly take that on but then don’t put it on your home page and tweet about it and put it all over Face­book and you know tell every­body how excit­ed you are to win this project. That is not at all what you’ve spent so long doing the mar­ket. You’re all about it.

David Lecours: And let’s say you do work in a cou­ple dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cals or you have a cou­ple dif­fer­ent ser­vices. You know while we like to think that we love all our chil­dren equal­ly. The real­i­ty is that some of those ver­ti­cals that you work in and some of those ser­vices are going to be inher­ent if not sig­nif­i­cant­ly more not prof­it nec­es­sar­i­ly but they bring in more rev­enue. And I think you need to be real­ly sort of clear about know­ing where your money’s com­ing from and if in fact one of those areas is where you’re get­ting most of your dol­lars. That’s the posi­tion­ing that you lead with doesn’t again not nec­es­sar­i­ly. You’re not going to sort of cut out those oth­ers ser­vices or mar­kets. It’s just you’re going to lead. And then what I hope is that by lead­ing in that mar­ket you’ll be so well known that those oth­er ser­vices and mar­kets will sort of draft and ben­e­fit from the strong lead­er­ship and strong you know point of view and posi­tion that you’re tak­ing.

Josh Miles: know speak­ing of strong points of view I found in school one of the great­est ways to devel­op a strong state­ment was to use the sci­en­tif­ic method called Mad Libs. So yeah.

Josh Miles: DAVID I know that you have this real­ly cool sort of Mad Lib-esque way of putting togeth­er posi­tion­ing state­ment. Maybe you could intro­duce our lis­ten­ers to that right.

David Lecours: So if there was a deliv­er­able in your posi­tion­ing it would be the posi­tion­ing state­ment and this is the state­ment that goes at the top of your web­site. It’s the first things that some­body reads and this is sort of the the Madlib fill-in-the blank for­mat that we use with our client so I’ll just read this out and then in your mind lis­ten­ers sort of start to fill in the blanks. OK. So we are a _________. And that’s where you fill in type of firm help­ing ________ (fill in tar­get audi­ence) to ____________ (solve a busi­ness prob­lem.) So what that would look like and I’ll just use Lecours­De­sign posi­tion­ing because I know the best. I would say we are brand­ing con­sul­tants help­ing a A/E/C firms attract great clients and tal­ent. I’ve iden­ti­fied the type of firm that we are: brand­ing. You know you could say archi­tect you could say engi­neer you could say accoun­tant help­ing. And I’ve iden­ti­fied the tar­get audi­ence: in this case AEC firms which is archi­tec­ture engi­neer­ing con­struc­tion firms and then too. And here’s where you insert solve a busi­ness prob­lem which is: help­ing those firms attract great clients and tal­ent. So that’s like the very sim­plest form of a one-sen­tence posi­tion­ing state­ment if you want to add on to that which most clients do because they feel like that doesn’t real­ly cap­ture all of them. You can add a sec­ond sen­tence that is: Our __________ and that’s where you fill in unique val­ue propo­si­tion does __________. And that’s where you fill in the ben­e­fit to your tar­get audi­ence. And this is where most firms get it wrong frankly is that they don’t con­vert the fea­ture to the ben­e­fit right. They say why they are unique but they don’t clar­i­fy why that is unique to their tar­get audi­ence. Does that make sense?

Josh Miles: Yeah I think that’s total­ly right. I think when I don’t think this is even unique to AEC or pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices but I think mar­keters in gen­er­al often want to lead with fea­tures and they kind of fail to cir­cle back with the ben­e­fits for the ben­e­fit or that as Simon Sinek would say the Why is real­ly a thing that you want to lead with what’s what’s the unique way that you are help­ing us solve this that only your firm brings to bear.

David Lecours: And it comes down to you know what I call the curse of knowl­edge right. You know all those ben­e­fits so well you feel like you don’t need to com­mu­ni­cate them. But keep in mind that a poten­tial client is just learn­ing about you for the first time and they don’t they don’t know all those things so you have to sort of over­sim­pli­fy­ing what it seems like in your mind over­sim­pli­fy and over com­mu­ni­cate to him. And it’s just com­mu­ni­ca­tion and just oh OK I get it.

Josh Miles: Yeah exact­ly. And I think the more you know the more you fail to ask the right ques­tions and be curi­ous so you just sort of assume that you know the answer is our sales coach calls the dum­my curve like the bet­ter you get at doing stuff the worse you get at sell­ing things because you just assume that you know what they’re going to say and you know as our coach says when granny’s base­ment flood­ed total­ly ruined her dress­er because the whole base­ment was full of water. And so your response would be what?

David Lecours: Why? Why did it flood?

Josh Miles: That’s one of the cor­rect ques­tions. So you didn’t he didn’t jump to a val­ue judg­ment says oh that sucks or I’m so sor­ry or ma’am that’s too bad that you lost a piece of fur­ni­ture. You know you jumped to a ques­tions so you don’t know if I like the fur­ni­ture or if I was hap­py was in my base­ment if I was frus­trat­ed with it. But ques­tion­ing is the right path to go there.

David Lecours: Yeah not just mak­ing these assump­tions. Sor­ry, Josh, I guess I’m just too well trained.

Josh Miles: I think you’re a plant.

David Lecours: So there are a cou­ple tests when you’re writ­ing out your posi­tion­ing state­ment. There are a cou­ple of things that you can do to sort of test whether it’s work­ing. Josh you want to talk about those?

Josh Miles: Sure. So maybe this goes with­out say­ing but you can’t go to mar­ket with some­thing that just sim­ply isn’t true. So if you if you read this posi­tion­ing state­ment and you’re like. Eh, that’s that’s not quite right. And then obvi­ous­ly maybe work a lit­tle bit hard­er on that.

David Lecours: Yeah so that’s it it’s a tough one because as mar­keters some­times we’re prone to hyper­bole and a lit­tle bit of exag­ger­a­tion but it gets to actu­al­ly the third one is that it’s got to be prov­able it’s got to be some­thing that you can demon­strate. I call it dur­ing the “client dat­ing process.” It’s that time when the clients get­ting to know you. You’re get­ting to know the client and if you’re mak­ing a pret­ty bold claim and I firm­ly believe you should. If you can’t back it up with some sort of evi­dence or demon­stra­tion of how you pulled that off for clients in the past, it just doesn’t fall into that “true” cat­e­go­ry. Now maybe you’re not 100 per­cent there maybe you’re 90 per­cent there but if you stake this bold claim it’s going to force you to learn some new knowl­edge or add some staff that has capa­bil­i­ties maybe that you don’t quite have.

David Lecours: Yes. I don’t have a prob­lem with firms claim­ing that. But what I do strug­gle with is if they’re at like 20 per­cent there and they’re claim­ing 100 per­cent that just does not because peo­ple are smart you know they can sniff out B.S. pret­ty quick­ly. So yeah.

Josh Miles: So it’s ok I guess maybe to phrase it dif­fer­ent­ly. You would think it’s OK to be a lit­tle bit aspi­ra­tional and how you’re posi­tion­ing your­self even if it’s maybe a new­ly found posi­tion? You’ve been doing this work for 100 years but for the last year, this has been your focus. And so now it feels most right.

David Lecours: Yeah I love that. Aspi­ra­tional is the per­fect way to say that.

Josh Miles: Yeah. So it’s got to be true. It’s got to be prov­able and it needs to be unique some­thing that is absolute­ly you and not some­thing that any­one else can claim or they would have to have the same skill sets and expe­ri­ences to be able to claim that.

David Lecours: And to that point, it’s got to be mean­ing­ful to your clients. So there’s a great book out there by a con­sul­tant named Cal Har­ri­son and he wrote a book called The Con­sul­tant with Pink Hair. So hav­ing pink hair is not prob­a­bly mean­ing­ful to your tar­get audi­ence. Yes, it might dif­fer­en­ti­ate you from your com­peti­tors but so what? You know you keep ask­ing your­self that ques­tion you know is this unique-ness mean­ing­ful and com­pelling to our tar­get audi­ence.

Josh Miles: That’s such a great point. So what if you’re the insur­ance con­sul­tant that sells insur­ance to every­one and dri­ves the yel­low Humvee right. Right. The vehicle’s inter­est­ing and maybe obnox­ious but it doesn’t actu­al­ly make you bet­ter. Insur­ance agents it just would be easy to spy you on the free­way.

David Lecours: It’s just dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ence sake. So what are some places to place a posi­tion­ing? You’ve spent time craft­ing this. You want to put it out there in the world. What are some vehi­cles or places or when might you use the posi­tion­ing state­ment?

Josh Miles: I think there’s def­i­nite­ly as we not­ed ear­li­er kind of lead in the sales process and I would offer even ear­ly in the sales process those are prob­a­bly two of the strongest rea­sons that the shin­ing stands out both. You know if you’re in pro­pos­al land and putting togeth­er paper­work or if you’re in that short list inter­view and they’re ask­ing you okay why should we hire you. That posi­tion­ing state­ment should go a long way to real­ly set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

David Lecours: Yeah def­i­nite­ly. And I guess I was think­ing sort of also sort of prac­ti­cal things like I men­tioned ear­li­er. You know it should be at the top of the web­site. Some firms put the posi­tion­ing state­ment you know on the back of their busi­ness card. You know it can be of like the foun­da­tion of your and I hate this term ele­va­tor pitch because nobody talks in an ele­va­tor but you know what I’m talk­ing about here it’s that answer to the ques­tion Hey tell me what you do. Ide­al­ly, you’re posi­tion­ing state­ment is writ­ten in real lan­guage and that’s not some­thing we touched on but it’s a mis­take that I see firms make as they do they cre­ate these posi­tion­ing state­ments that sound, when writ­ten, so lofty and beau­ti­ful­ly craft­ed. But if you were to say it in a con­ver­sa­tion you would just feel like a… you just feel slimy and like a.….jerk

David Lecours: Nobody real­ly uses that kind of lan­guage. So I think it’s impor­tant to use real life lan­guage in your posi­tion­ing state­ment so that if some­one asks, “hey what do you do?” You know you can reel com­fort­ably say hey we’re brand­ing con­sul­tants and we help if firms attract great clients and tal­ent. And if it doesn’t tell the whole sto­ry that’s great. Hope­ful­ly, there’s going to be a fol­low-on ques­tion some­body is going to go real­ly well. How do you do that? Or tell me more what­ev­er. So you don’t have to like spell out the whole thing and that’s why it’s just a state­ment it’s not a para­graph and it’s not an entire white paper. Yeah

Josh Miles: I love hav­ing the almost sort of the posi­tion­ing tease that invites some­one to ask the ques­tion how do you do that. So I remem­ber this one guy from net­work­ing cir­cles years ago who when he would intro­duce him­self peo­ple would say what are you doing? He would say I help peo­ple find the mon­ey hid­ing inside their busi­ness. And who doesn’t want to would, of course, say how do you do that. And then he gets a chance to unpack what he does and reviews con­tracts with you and helps you fig­ure out oth­er ways to save mon­ey here and there. And I think part of his pitch was he gets paid a per­cent­age of what­ev­er he helps you save so you know even his fee is sort of invis­i­ble because it was you were already spend­ing it any­how so he’ll spend most of that and his fee is actu­al­ly inher­ent­ly tied up in his posi­tion­ing which is real­ly like his busi­ness mod­el gets sum­ma­rized by his posi­tion­ing.

David Lecours: So that’s very inter­est­ing. But yeah whether you’re say­ing it ver­bal­ly or whether you’re writ­ing it in word form what­ev­er the medi­um I think the goal is to engage some­body in a con­ver­sa­tion. Right. So we’re not pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices typ­i­cal­ly don’t work in e-com­merce. It’s not like some­body fills out a shop­ping cart and buys your ser­vices right off your site. So it requires hav­ing some con­ver­sa­tions and devel­op­ing a lev­el of trust between the both of you. Ide­al­ly, the posi­tion­ing state­ment begins that con­ver­sa­tion.

Josh Miles: Peo­ple who bought MEP con­sult­ing also blog com­mis­sion­ing it has only three remain at this price and should make that web­site just for this report.

David Lecours: Absolute­ly. Alright, since we’re start­ing to devolve maybe it’s time to kind of wrap things up. I don’t know what do you think is there any­thing else that you want­ed to talk about jobs in terms of posi­tion­ing. No

Josh Miles: I think that’s good. I think you know if any lis­ten­ers have thoughts on their posi­tion­ing or would like to float some bias you can head over to PSM.show and share some of your thoughts with us and let us know how your process of cre­at­ing a strong posi­tion­ing is going for you and your firm.

David Lecours: Yes absolute­ly we’ll also have some oth­er resources in the show notes again at PSM.show. So to wrap up great talk. Josh

David Lecours: this is PSM show pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices mar­ket­ing and Episode 1 0 8 and we are glad to be here in the New Year and excit­ed to kick off we’ve got some real­ly excit­ing inter­views com­ing up that we’ve lined up. So make sure you go to sub­scribe to iTunes and keep your­self on a reg­u­lar drip of the PSM show.

Josh Miles: Very nice. DAVID, great chat­ting with you. We’ll see you next time. All right sounds good. Bye.

David Lecours: Bye.

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