If you want to become an authority for your ideal clients, you need to know who will give you money for what you do and have a good reason why they should give it to you.
Your “positioning” is a crucial step in the process of becoming seen as an authority. Yet, many people don’t take the time to define this.
They often just have a feeling that people will buy what they offer. So perhaps it’s not surprising that so many businesses fail in the first few years.
To be successful, you need to do more than attract clients, patients or customers.
You need to attract people who are going to invest with you, get results and hopefully be fun to work with.
When you have clearly identified your ideal clients, patients or customers, you’ll find it’s easier to:
- Find more of them
- Have clients who stay longer and spend more
- Stand out from the competition
- Develop better products and services
- Attract more referrals
Identifying your ideal clients isn’t just about who they are and what they want.
It’s about using your knowledge of the market to tailor your products and services to meet their needs in the best way possible.
In short, you want to position yourself to be the go-to expert in your field.
5 Key Questions
There are five questions you need to answer to create a successful positioning as an authority.
- Who are your ideal clients?
- What big problem do they have that you can solve?
- How can you best help them?
- Why should they buy from you?
- Where can you find them?
So let’s follow these steps one-by-one.
# 1: Who are your ideal clients?
One of the big mistakes most people make in business is they try to be something for everyone.
When you want to be as successful as possible, it can easily seem that trying to appeal to a wide audience will generate more sales.
But the fact is this rarely pans out.
The truth is: you stand a better chance of being seen as an authority if you focus on a specific market.
So you need to define your target market as specifically as possible, taking into account:
- Demographics: This is identifiable and quantifiable categories like age group, gender, education level, income group, geographic area etc.
- Psychographics: This reflects how they think and make decisions. It can be harder to define but ultimately more useful than demographics. It includes things like what’s important to them or their interests and lifestyles.
So ultimately, when you define your ideal customer groups, you’ll find it’s a mix of demographics and psychographics.For example:
New business owners in San Francisco
Mothers of young children who want a career change
Men over 45 who like golf
# 2: What big problem do they have that you can solve?
There are generally two reasons people will voluntarily spend money on something:
- They want to solve a problem
- They want to make their life better in some way (including their family’s life or their business results)
This applies whether you are selling to individuals, business owners or larger organizations. To make the sale easier, your task is to find out what your target market wants and then give it to them. You need to get inside their heads and find out what’s on their mind.
- What’s the big problem that keeps them awake at night?
- What’s the big dream they really want to achieve?
Some people buy because they want to solve the problem and others buy to achieve the dream. So you need to think about your offer from both perspectives.
For example, one person may see their situation negatively: “My business is struggling to attract enough clients”. Another may be more positive: “I want to double my profits next year”.
Based on this information, you can define your service using a sentence that begins with “I help people who…”
“I help people who don’t have enough clients” OR
“I help people who want to double their profits next year”
It is not enough to know that they have a problem (or that they want to achieve something). You need to know that they want to change the situation and that they are willing to spend enough money to do so.
One of the things you want to do is find out what people are searching for on Google and what they are discussing on social media related to the topic. Build a list of the top keywords people use on Google and of the questions they raise in social media and in popular sites such as Amazon.com.
# 3: How can you best help them and provide a transformation?
Once you’ve defined exactly what people want, you can work out the best way to give it to them. You need to be able to show how you can transform their life or their business.
In doing this, you have to take into account your own strengths and capabilities so that you can match those to what people want.
If you are still seeking to define your area of expertise, it usually comes down to one of three things:
- Advice: What do people most often ask you for help with?
- Skills: What are you particularly good at?
- Knowledge: What have you learned through books or experience?
When you have clarified the area of your expertise, there are two parts to defining how you can help people.
The first is specifying what you do. For example:
“I create marketing plans…”
“I offer an audio training course…”
That’s where most business owners stop. They focus on what they do. But the reality is that people don’t care what you do. They’re only interested in what it means for them.
So the second part has to focus on the outcome for them. It’s often useful to start with the term “…which helps them to…”
“…which helps them to generate a large list of prospects”
“…which helps them to overcome their fear of speaking”
It’s useful to be as specific as possible about the outcome or transformation. Often you need to go beyond the obvious and talk about what it means to them on a deeper level.
# 4: Why should they buy from you?
Your prospects and clients could almost always go somewhere else to get the help they need. So you need a good reason why they should choose you.
Do you know why you are the right person to help your ideal client?
If you can’t think why people should choose you, you need to find ways to change what you offer so that you stand out. Here are some factors that could make your offer right for them:
- Your specific expertise and knowledge
- A guaranteed outcome
- Serving a specific geographic location or market segment
- Personal service or coaching
Getting this right can help you break through the clutter in the most saturated market and become the obvious authority.
When you’ve completed these four steps, you should be able to combine them and write a short statement defining your positioning such as:
“I help new business owners in San Francisco who are struggling to attract enough clients. I create marketing plans to give them a huge list of prospects. They choose me because I give a guaranteed outcome.”
# 5: Where can you find them?
A key reason for defining your target market clearly is that you need to know how you are going to reach them with your message.
That means you need to know where they hang out, what publications they read and who already has access to them.
Without knowing this, you cannot create marketing campaigns to get your message across to them.
If there are not already people advertising in this market or places where people come together, there may not be a market here anyway.