More than a few consultants think they have a pipeline problem—not enough work lined up consistently—when what they REALLY have is a positioning problem.
Think of positioning as an organized effort to differentiate your firm (and yourself) and influence how your target audience perceives you
.So you just might have a positioning problem if:Clients tell you they’re talking to two other firms “just like yours”.You’re consistently getting pushback on your prices (which means clients aren’t seeing your value compared to their other options).You can’t clearly articulate your ideal client—and no, “any company in my city who needs marketing help” is not a client profile.You aren’t getting quality referrals from your social networks—social media and your social/professional circles.You’re getting requests for work that isn’t in your sweet-spot.Any one of those situations feels like you haven’t committed to a strategy. And until you do, it’s tough to change the outcome.Positioning yourself and your firm is the SINGLE most important thing you’ll do in your business.You’ve got to be willing to stake your claim on one thing—one message, one client base—and then weave it into literally everything you do.It will set the stage for how—and with whom—you spend your time.It will influence, over and over again, the right clients, buyers and centers of influence to seek you out.Your work gets easier, not harder.Can you position your firm yourself? Absolutely—in fact even if you work with an outside expert (ahem, say me), you’ll still need to stay focused in your lane.But I’ve found consultants tend to either “get” their positioning fairly quickly or flail away for months, even years, trying an array of tactics that never quite jell.So if your experience hasn’t been of the quick variety, it may be time for some outside help.Sure, it’s going to cost you more out-of-pocket than doing it yourself. But look at what speed will buy you before you decide you can’t afford it.What’s a single client worth to you? How much faster will they find and hire you if you’ve articulated your value?If you’ve got a positioning problem, do the math and decide what getting it right is worth to you.p.s. If you or someone you care about is in the early years of escaping corporate for consulting, you’ll want to give Paul Klein’s interview with me on his “Pricing IS Positioning” podcast a listen here.
We talk pricing as well as the journey from freelancer to expert to authority.Related: Building Authority in Places You Don’t Own