"Thank you for a terrific presentation on Fast Forward Selling at the St. Louis Meeting Professionals International meeting. You were an easy speaker to work with, flexible and undemanding, yet professional all the way. More importantly, your talk was timely and motivating. The last several months have been a challenge for many in the hospitality industry, and your comments were on target to help members turn sales inquiries into solid bookings. You are great!".
Rebecca DeFilippo, Meeting Professionals Intl.

Fast Forward Selling ... In Challenging Times

Welcome 2003! Mercifully so for many small business owners. There never has been a better time to be reminded of some of the basics needed in order to thrive - not merely survive. I constantly preach to my clients that their number one concern must be positioning. That's a secret of success! The "P" word. It's a word we all hear constantly, however, are you practicing great positioning?

Positioning is a word you hear constantly. What does it mean? And what can great positioning do? In a word - everything!

Know who you are and what you do! Be crystal clear about it. You need to create a positioning statement™ for your business. It promotes you by concept and outcome of working with you. You must be able to communicate who you are. Be aware this is not a new idea by any means. You've heard it called an "elevator speech", a "60 second commercial", etc. I created the term positioning statement, because a good one can add an extra dimension beyond merely defining who you are and what you do.

Soon to hit the bookstores is Jack Canfield's newest tome, "Success Principles". (You know Jack - he's the "Chicken Soup" guy!) I'm privileged to have Jack as a client. When he decided to write about positioning in his book, guess who he called? Was I thrilled? Hey . I LOVE chicken soup!

The reason Jack chose to include my thoughts and work on positioning was simple. He said he remembers my positioning statement, and likes the ones I help my clients create. (It is a GOOD thing when clients remember your work!)

Let me throw out some examples. How about my own? I consult and speak, and have positioning statements that relate to each. For my consulting - "I work with small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to book more business and make more money". For the speaking part of my business - "I work with organizations who want to Fast Forward their selling skills in order to increase success and profitability."

Short, sweet, and to the point. The first part of my statements speaks to the concept of working with me, the last part the outcome. I will tell you one thing about a good positioning statement - it works! You need to create one for yourself. Each part of your statement can stand-alone and be meaningful, however, the entire statement is most meaningful when used in its entirety. So, where do you use your positioning statement?

In a word - everywhere! Once you develop yours, say it over and over and over. I suggest to my clients that they say it 100 times a day for a week! Leave yourself a voice mail message saying it. See how it sounds to you. Say it to friends. Run it by colleagues. Solicit their feedback! Better yet, run it by some of your clients. As small business owners, we must be in the feedback business.

Further, your positioning statement should be prominently displayed on all of your promotional material. That includes your website!

A great positioning statement allows a prospect to quickly determine if what you do is meaningful to them. It allows you to qualify prospects better. What can this do for us? Make us more productive for sure.

After you develop and adopt a great positioning statement, what else should you do? I suggest the following.

Do your homework. Who are your clients and prospects? What motivates them in the marketplace? What challenges are they facing? What needs do you fill in the marketplace? Make sure you clearly address them.

Think small. Never try to be all things to all people. It just doesn't work. The narrower your market, the better chance you have of getting the business. Be an expert in the field.

Promote yourself and your service. Be creative. What distinguishes you from your competition? Be specific. Be memorable. Tell your story. Tell it over and over. Tell it at every opportunity to anyone who will listen. Talk about it. Write about it.

Create an image. You can create a visual image with logos, stationery, brochures, words, videos, newsletters and more. All of these things contribute to your corporate culture. I never appreciated the impact of this until I hired Chris Scavotto of Scavotto Designs in St. Louis to do this for me. She created total visual images for both aspects of my businesses. Further, she helped me to add a continuity that was previously lacking. Especially for my products - my business manual Working Smart, Not Hard, as well as several audio programs I sell.

Tune into your clients. Every time you come into contact with a client or prospect, you are getting feedback about your market position. Hopefully, it's positive feedback; however, it isn't always. A phone call that isn't returned is feedback. It tells you that your positioning with this client or prospect needs some help! Use ALL feedback to improve upon positioning.

Don't give up! Create a plan and stick to it. Being consistent in your chosen market requires you to be good all of the time, every time. Deliver on what you promise. Deliver end results and deliver personality. My personal sense is this: The best marketing I can do for my business is do a great job with the clients I'm currently working with. Simple, and it works.

If you take the time to carve out a positioning strategy in your market, your business will grow. Isn't that what it's all about?

"Lois Creamer works with organizations that want to fast forward their selling skills so that they can be more successful at what they do. For more information on her programs please contact www.FastForwardSelling.com, email Lois@FastForwardSelling.com, or call 314-822-8225."

Fast Forward Selling - 539 Bedford Oaks Dr. St. Louis, MO 63122 USA Tel: 314-882-8225
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