Carving out a clear and compelling position for your expertise is the single most important thing you’ll ever do to build your authority business.
My favorite definition of positioning—because it directly applies to the business of expertise—is this by April Dunford: “deliberately defining how you are the best at something that a defined market cares a lot about.”
How to tell if your positioning needs work? Your good-fit potential clients say things like:
“I don’t understand exactly what you do for people like me.”
“That feels too expensive for what I need.”
“I’m not sure how that will really fix my problem.”
When you’re hearing this kind of feedback about your offerings, it’s a pretty good bet your positioning is off.
It might be that you’re accidentally targeting the wrong client profile. Like the consultant who produced truly stellar PR results for a specific slice of entrepreneurs.
He kept attracting prospects that were too stuck in deep financial trouble to hire him. All we had to do was tweak his language—his positioning—to hone in on business owners who were actually ready and able to engage.
He closed his next client within a week—because the right positioning is like a dog whistle for your sweet-spot.
Sometimes the problem is that your positioning is coming off as too generic. That’s why carving out a niche—a uniquely compelling position for yourself—is so critical.
Ultimately, successful positioning of your authority means you’re selling outcomes to a defined audience—and the more transformational, the easier it is to differentiate. Like:
Avoiding expensive hiring mistakes (HR consultant to owners of financial planning firms).
Faster time to market from collaboration software (software developer to digital marketing agencies).
Recapture 10% of your time every week (coach to overworked pediatricians).
Your expertise doesn’t have to tie to saving money or growing market share—both strong selling positions—but it does have to matter to your ideal client or they won’t make the time for your message.