For years now I have preached to you about narrowing the focus of your firm in order to eliminate competition and shift the power in the buy-sell relationship to you, the seller. A narrow positioning is one of the foundational Win Without Pitching principles that allows you to take control of the buying process, lower
Win Without Pitching®: Thinking
Winning without pitching begins with positioning. How’s yours? This brief post offers ten simple questions to ask of how your firm is currently positioned or for any new positioning you may be considering.
Ask yourself these ten questions.
Take this simple test and consider putting it to your team members. It’s one question to which the answers reveal so much about the firm and the individual respondents. I love putting this question to people who do not have day-to-day business development responsibilities – people like creative directors, partners, CFOs and pretty much anybody else in the firm.
Okay, here’s the million dollar question…
Business is a game with hidden levels. By succeeding at one level, you get invited to play the next. The common mistake is to bring those first-level tools to the next level. Not only do they not work here, but they also work against you. Many of the habits you learned you will now have to unlearn. Accepting this inevitable obsolescence of tools is the key to obtaining all the advanced levels of success.
Imagine a more detailed map than this for every new business development decision that you face like positioning, lead generation, dealing with RFPs and closing. And then add a peer group of other owners just like you going through the same steps and the helpful guidance of a Win Without Pitching coach. That’s what’s available to you in the Win Without Pitching program where we have numerous training formats to match your learning style and budget.
An article on how to get around the painful sacrifice of positioning.
There is only one reason marketing communication firms are hired, and therefore only one viable basis for the positioning of your firm. It is not personality, it is not process, it is not price. Marketing communication firms are hired for what they can do for their clients based on their expertise.
When we’re working with owners of independent creative firms on the positioning of their firms, we separate the exercise of choosing a focus, from the exercise of articulating a claim. The first is an act of sacrifice, which most people in the creative professions struggle with (even more so than the average business owner, I believe), and the second is an act of communication, something creative professionals revel and delight in.
I imagined that there is a line among design-based businesses that separates those who see themselves as in the business of design from those who see design as just one of the tools they use, in the service of whatever business they are really in. I wondered if this line was moving, squeezing out the traditional design firm.
After almost ten years of advising creative businesses on their positioning, I’ve looked back to find the five most common mistakes that I’ve seen. If you’re repositioning your firm, use this guide to help you avoid the mistakes I’ve seen and even contributed to over the years.
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