This post is part two of a 4-part series on The E.P.I.C. Method, a step-by-step process on how to catapult your own competitive advantage by building a strong, differentiated leadership brand. Catch up by reading part one here.
Successfully achieving Step 1 of The E.P.I.C. Method means that you have already demonstrated that you possess instant value and applicability to your target audience by “Establishing Relevance”.
But now that you have captured their attention by indicating that what you are offering (ex. knowledge, skills, expertise, products, services, etc.) is critical to an important decision that will need to make . . . . NOW WHAT?!
How do you influence people into taking action?
The next step in The E.P.I.C. Method, Position Possibilities, is the stage where most people get stuck, frustrated, overwhelmed, and on the verge of quitting, because they don’t fully understand the dynamics of human psychology and the art of influence.
Position Possibilities requires you to guide your audience through understanding and critiquing the most promising options for the upcoming decision that they need to make. This way, they will feel great about their final option of choice.
Humans love options! We hate only having one choice. Burger King touts having unlimited options via their tagline, “have it your way.” Starbucks touts hundred of options for your drink of choice. When was the last time that you went to a store or a company which only sold 1 thing? Our point, exactly!
Remember that the options you place on the table should be win-win options (i.e. options which excite both you AND your target audience).
Why? Because if you are going to invest the most precious asset that you can never replace – your time– you had better be excited and passionate about being part of the selected course of action.
Position Possibilities means “conveying compelling win-win options from which your audience is expected choose. At its core, positioning is a sentence or two that clearly defines the problem you are setting out to solve for your audience and why your solution is compelling.
You will likely discover that once you present your shortlist of options, the numbers of your original audience may go down a bit because not everyone will like what you are offering. Shocking, right?
Actually, this is exactly what you want, because those who are left will be the niche market or audience that you have the most promise of influencing in your favor. Identifying your niche will allow for more focused, targeted marketing and collaboration strategies.
Let’s give you an example. Imagine that you are a baker of exquisite custom-made cookies. Your expertise is in offering unique cookie flavor combinations and creative packaging options for high-end events. Think, “the gift cookie in the Oscars’ celebrity swag bags!“. In Step 1 of the E.P.I.C. Method, by sharing with the world your expertise, you likely Established Relevance to a variety of sweets-loving audiences (ex. Dessert bloggers, event planners, brides-to-be, gift giving experts, etc.) Your “win” would be to expand your reputation and to sell more cookies. Their “win” would be to learn more about your services.
As you go about positioning possibilities, you may choose tactics like showing your full cookie menu of offerings on your website, providing recommendations of what types of packaging go best with different types of events, and inviting past clients to share creative ways that they have used your cookies as gifts.
You may find that people who love cupcakes or candy more than cookies may opt-out of staying in touch with you. You may even get inquiries about whether you offer sweets not listed on your menu, like cakes. Although you may know how to bake a great cake, if cookies are your passion, you should stay true to yourself and niche yourself in the cookie industry. Your niche market or niche audience ends up being true cookie-lovers who are excited about sharing your service with others or personally buy the cookies for their events.
Everything you do to Position Possibilities, should align to your final shortlist of win-win options. In this example, your business strategy should stay focused on offering the best tasting cookies possible which contain the best creative packaging possible. When you hire employees in your bakery, they should be the best talent you can find in the cookie-making job market. When you market your business, you should highlight how your options are truly differentiated from your competition.
There are so many options out there and people are busy. You have to know who you are and why people should care.
What to Watch Out For: Avoid diluting the importance of your expertise by trying to be all things to all people. “You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something great for someone.”
Not quite sure how to position win-win possibilities in order to influence people in your niche market or audience? Let us give you 2 ways to get some insight:
- Create a Differentiated Positioning Statement (DPS) for each option you provide, in order to establish buy-in to the win-win proposition that you are attempting to communicate to your niche market or niche audience. Your DPS should be so relatable, applicable, and compelling that it inspires them to take the action that you want them to take. A good differentiated positioning statement identifies the niche market/audience, the statement of need, the option/solution it provides, and how the option/solution is differentiated from competing alternatives. Having a strong differentiated positioning statement differentiates you as a premium leader who is the perfect option for your niche market/audience.
- Want to chat confidentially? Schedule an appointment for a free 15 minute “virtual coffee” to be mentored personally or to chat about how to engage Shockingly Different to support the professional development in your organization.