How to become a consultant blog

Guest Post: Positioning for Consulting Success – Part 2

Today’s guest post is written by veteran consultant, Rebel Brown of People Who Know. This in depth article is her 2nd of 3 guest posts related to positioning yourself for success.
>> Read Rebel’s full bio here

Last time we talked about the overall value of a positioning story, and the evidence gathering phase of positioning process. This time, we’re going to talk about how to create a Positioning Matrix that empowers you to spin stories that are compelling to diverse audience needs.

Every Position is Unique
Anyone who says there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to positioning simply doesn’t get it. Great positioning is as unique as each situation. Strategic positioning is as much an art as it is a science. And each and every situation offers a blank canvas.

To tell YOUR best stories with the maximum flexibility, create a positioning matrix – a collection of story elements that, when woven together, tell the story of you, your expertise, how you have helped, or can help your clients. This matrix makes it easy to be a Spin Doctor – to create a story on the fly that matches a specific client scenario.

The Positioning Matrix
So how do you create a positioning matrix for yourself? We discussed the basic steps last time, which are:

  • Gather compelling evidence
  • Create pivot points
  • Weave a story

Now that you’ve collected your own personal evidence, it’s time to create your core Pivot Point messages. It’s important that you don’t get locked into Pivotal messages before you have all the evidence of you in front of you. You’d be amazed at some of the gems of evidence you’ll find about yourself by simply talking to friends, partners, employers and others you’ve worked with. Be sure you also know about any potential blindsides – that hole in your experience, that bad project with a partner who has poor memories of you. You have to recognize and prepare for all the good as well as that tiny bit of bad in your reputation! Be honest and take a clear look at yourself and your skills – and once again, don’t try to be something you are not!

The Pivot Points
Pivot Points are the key statements around which your story, and all evidence, is woven. The right Pivot Points are critical to any positioning exercise – so pay attention and spend the time it takes to create crisp, concise Pivot Point statements that truly represent you and your value.

I focus on three Pivot Points, the key areas that answer the Who, What, Why and How of any story. My Pivot Points are:

  1. Market: The type of customers you serve
  2. Company: The expertise you bring
  3. Expertise: The value you offer

Create a clear and concise message for each area. It’s best to have a single message for a total of three Pivot Points. Sometimes I stretch out to five points, but they have to be relevant and easy to spin as part of a logical story progression. Use the evidence you collected to support and expand the core message as needed for specific purposes. Too many messages can lead to confusion about who you are and what you do, so stay focused.

‘So What?’
‘So What?’ is the Most Important Marketing Question you’ll ever ask yourself. It makes the difference between self-serving, chest-thumping claims and true customer-centric value statements. (To read more about So What marketing, check out the above link.)

When crafting your Pivot Points, ask yourself ‘So What?’ at each step along the way. Start with your positioning statement, then put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself ‘So What?’ You’ll know when you strike value. If you don’t – ask your friends and former employers. They’ll give you the guidance you need to create the ultimate So What positioning Pivot Points.

Some questions to ask yourself for each Pivot Point statement.

  • What does this mean to my customer?
  • What specifically does my skill and expertise help my clients accomplish, resolve or change that is a good thing for their business?
  • What’s in it for them?

Answer the ‘So What?’ question from your customers’ perspective. To be most effective, answer it as if you were talking to the people who you will be working with, who will be hiring you.

Your Own Positioning Matrix
Once you have all your Pivot Points defined, apply your evidence to each point so that you have your own matrix. Look for holes in your evidence, and go find the proof you need to substantiate each Pivot Point from a variety of angles. Remember, evidence is the key to creating credibility, so you can never ever have enough.

After you create your matrix – it’s time to begin to learn to spin your story by weaving threads together. We’ll talk about that in the next installment of Positioning for Success.

If you’d like to read more in depth on positioning strategies, Rebel Brown is offering her new eBook, It’s Not About You Anymore, for FREE download. In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  • How to create dynamic positioning from the 3 Pivot Points of Positioning.
  • The best questions to ask your customers to create compelling messages.
  • How to spin the threads of a dynamic story for each and every occasion.


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One thought on “Guest Post: Positioning for Consulting Success – Part 2

  1. Richard Pressman says:

    Excellent approach. Just keep the positioning, succinct, relevant and targeted.

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