Someone once told me, “A million dollar business isn’t built on referrals alone.” And, at the time, this stood out to me because up until that point, all of the advice I had received about starting a consulting business relied heavily on referrals. I had been trained to think that I had to rely on others to help me build my business.
Now, I do agree that your network can be a good starting place. It can be golden when you know how to use it the right way. However, it felt so limiting to only have this source for business growth and I often became frustrated trying to figure out how to find people who were willing to help.
What I’ve found over the years is that my experience wasn’t uncommon. There are so many talented professionals and industry experts that don’t have an aligned or well-connected referral network, making business growth more difficult. This can be especially true for many women in consulting, especially women of color.
For decades, the consulting industry has limited our access to inner circles, high-level networking, and golf outings even at the highest levels. In the memoir, Where You Are Is Not Who You Are, Ursula Burns, the first Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, shared how she experienced such limited access and faced difficulities navigating inner circles throughout her career. She reflects often on how her differences in interests, culture, and upbringing made her the less likely choice based on others standards.
“I am a black woman, I do not play golf, I do not belong to or go to country clubs, I do not like NASCAR, I do not listen to country music, and I have a masters degree in engineering. I, like a typical New Yorker, speak very fast, with an accent and vernacular that is definitely New York City, definitely Black. So when someone says I’m going to introduce you to the next CEO of Xerox, and the options are lined up against a wall, I would be the first one voted off the island.” — Ursula Burns
This creates an uneven playing field. What I have found, is that there is greater potential for growth if we can look beyond our current network.
The ability to generate business outside of referrals and have greater control over revenue generation will require you to create a predictable way to attract clients and gain business. This can be difficult if you have yet to create a formal sales process and system for brand awareness and lead attraction, which is one of the reasons why so many people avoid expanding beyond their comfort zone to attempt a new approach. But, expanding beyond your current network can significantly increase the likelihood of success and profitability of your business in the long-term.
What is strategic positioning?
Strategic positioning or market positioning is the intentional way you differentiate your business and services to stand out in the mind of your target audience. In order for potential clients to view your offer as a potential solution and desire to work with you, they have to find what you offer to be better than the competition in some aspect that they highly value. This can easier stated than done to start and will require modification and adjustment over time.
However, when you find the optimal positioning for your services it will allow you to:
- Gain clarity on what you offer and how that compares to available options in the market.
- Attract potential clients that are best suited for your offer to your business.
- More easily communicate the value of your service to potential clients.
- Increase your client conversion rates.
- Generate more business and greater revenue.
Benefits of Strategic Positioning
Clarity is often underrated. The ability for you to understand why you are doing what you do, who you want to serve and how you can help them, and what makes what you do different from everyone else creates a level of confidence that fuels the work that you do. It provides comfort when you take risks and reassures you when things are moving slower than desired. Going through the process of building a strong foundation on which your business stands is one of the best ways to achieve the clarity that has been missing.
Attracting Potential Clients
The more clarity you have about your business and your offer, the more clarity your client will also have around how your offer can help them. They will be attracted to solutions that align with their unique needs. It is this attraction which will increase the likelihood of alignment with your services. Client attraction shifts from feeling difficult and elusive to being a natural result of the work you are doing.
Communicating Your Value
The value that will generate business is what others perceive to be true. Communicating value is a matter of speaking to how your solution positively impacts the lives of others in a way that can be understood and felt on many levels. When you have positioned yourself effectively, you are highlighting your business as a solution in your space that impacts the lives of others. When people can visualize their success using your approach, the greater the desire that is built and that is the manifestation of the value you’ve created.
Increasing Your Conversion Rates
When potential clients have greater clarity about your offer and see clear value in what you provide, it is easier for them to make a decision as to whether your offer is a good fit. The more you attract aligned clients that need and want your service, the more clients you will land. You are doing the work to naturally select for better conversions.
Generating Greater Business and Revenue
When you attract more aligned clients who view your offer as valuable, you will generate more business and greater revenue. You don’t need sales tricks and spammy outreach to grow. The strength of your positioning will reflect in the business you are able to create.
This is a process that builds upon itself. It starts with gaining clarity, setting a firm foundation, differentiating yourself, and communicating your value. If any of these pieces are missing it weakens your positioning and threatens the space you have taken in your potential client’s mind. The more you stay focused on elevating your positioning, everything else will follow.
If you want to learn how to strategically position your consulting services in a way that allows you to stand out and effectively compete in your industry, I want to introduce you to Positioned To Excel™️.
Positioned To Excel™️ is an unparalleled, one-on-one, curriculum-based coaching program for consultants, strategists, and expert service providers who want to grow their consulting business to 6-figures and beyond. You will learn:
- How to develop a magnetic core offer that allows you to expand your capacity to serve more clients in a fraction of the time.
- Ways to share your unique perspective and establish a recognizable and respected expert brand.
- How to implement a high-value attraction strategy needed to escape feast or famine mode for consistent revenue generation and financial stability.
- What’s necessary to simplify your consulting model to live life fully on your terms while making the greater impact that you desire.