It’s a complex concept that could be discussed for years. It was the first time I heard it explained so clearly as when I was sitting at a Weber barbecue with a friend who teaches high school English.
His school had just spent some money to refurbish their pool. A nearby school thought theirs was too costly and unnecessary. They filled it in.
My friend said, “They sealed their fate,” and turned the steak carefully. They are in a death spiral and don’t know it. It has nothing to do with a love for sports. It is all about positioning ourselves to attract the right clients.
My friend explained to me that parents who choose a school because it has a swimming pool are either wealthy or have been sending their child to lessons (which is why they are wealthy). It was clear that they would attract a higher-level clientele simply because the school had a swimming pool.
It is crucial to attracting the right clients in a country that requires schools to accept children.
The best way to position yourself is with the famous Field of Dreams line: “If they build it, they will follow.”
You Create Your Norm
You will be able to attract high-level clients if you offer high-quality services. If you don’t position yourself as a high-level provider, you will be regarded as a rabble. It’s not something you’ll even notice. Because the customers you interact with will tell you which kind of customers to interact with until you believe they are your only choice.
Let’s take the simple example of two car dealers. The one is high-end and has sold cars at prices exceeding a million Rand over the past ten years. They don’t know what it is like dealing with wealthy customers. However, the low-end dealership down by believes that the market has collapsed and there isn’t enough money. Why? Because they deal with people in need and without money. Both cases show that the reality has been created by the initial positioning.
What should you do?
These are the four best ways to improve your position:
1. Fire your low-paying, high-input clients
They can be a time drainer, are not worth the financial rewards, and will also keep you from believing you are operating at this level. They will become part of your daily routine if you see them often.
Don’t serve this group of homeless people; instead, give them over to entry-level operators. You can own the highest end of the market, those idyllic plains where your ideal clientele loves to gamble.
You might find it difficult to let go if you are having trouble letting go. Consider this: Doing one job for thirty coins is more valuable than doing three jobs each for ten coins. This seems like an impossible mathematical feat. Each job has a cost. One unit of the cost will be incurred if you do 30 jobs for 30 coins. Three jobs will cost you three times as much if you do them all for the same money. It is more profitable to do less work and make more money.
2. Carry gold and dump the bricks
What are you offering that has high input but low return? It is why you are offering it. Why waste your time with bricks when you can carry gold with the same effort?
Do you struggle to maintain the small profit margins in your business? Maybe it’s time for you to get rid of the low-yield part and concentrate on the high-yield stuff. It doesn’t mean you have to be everything to everyone. Be the thing that produces high income.
3. Your fees should be increased
Raise your fees. Ensure you are enhancing your quality simultaneously. You’ll be able to charge more and attract clients who can afford it.
Your fees should be in the mid-to-upper price range for your industry. Do not position yourself in the lowest cost range. You will become a commodity if you do. This is not smart positioning. People will shop for you based on price. You will therefore get the lowest profit margins in the low-end market. This will lead to price wars. Parents who aren’t interested in pools will be your parents.
It is also more difficult to raise your prices later if you have undercharged.
4. Increase the value of your name
You will increase the value of your brand and name by appearing in the media regularly, speaking at events, and writing for industry publications.
Public perception is the basis of positioning. You can create that perception by designing. You can simply say, “If you want to be at the top, get out there and be seen.” Your excellence should be taken on the road. Your brand and name will be recognized as industry leaders, increasing the value of your product.
If you are frustrated at the quality of your customers or their ability to sustain your business’s finances, then ask yourself: Are you serving the right customers?” If you don’t, it is time to create the pool. They will come if you build it.