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For me, the single most important thing you must have clarity on in your business is your positioning statement”. Your positioning statement defines your brand position, identifies your ideal customer and the problem you solve for them.

A quick note on terminology: positioning statement can also be referred to as “value proposition”, “Unique Value Proposition”, “UVP” and the older “USP” or Unique Selling Proposition in some articles. While there might be very subtle differences, I believe that for professional services firms these terms are completely interchangeable.

What does a positioning statement look like?

Here’s the format I prefer to use:

We help THESE PEOPLE…
Solve THIS PROBLEM… (or Get THIS RESULT… )

By doing THIS…
So that THEY CAN…

This is the fulcrum of your entire marketing strategy. Getting it right is important, but it will evolve over time so do your best and then move on, and revisit later.

This format of value proposition I use here is influenced by “How to Talk About What You Do” in Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid” (recommend reading). Note that the original source may be far older than Michael Port’s book. Michael Skok of mjskok.com writes “It is intentionally typical of positioning statements to be consistent and reusable as such”.

Skok has written a number of articles on Value Proposition for Forbes and other top level publications. His version – which is more product oriented – looks like this:

For (target customers)
Who are dissatisfied with (the current alternative)
Our product is a (new product)
That provides (key problem-solving capability)
Unlike (the product alternative)

Philip Morgan introduced me to another variation which is a combination of the above and works well for service businesses:

We help THESE PEOPLE… solve THIS PROBLEM…
Unlike OTHER (describe people in your industry), we do UNIQUE THING …

As of early 2020, my current positioning statement looks like this:

I help independent consultants & specialized consulting firms to generate more leads consistently by auditing & upgrading their business development strategy so that they can eliminate their dependence on referrals.

Over to you! Fill in the blanks best you can:

We help THESE PEOPLE…
Solve THIS PROBLEM… (or Get THIS RESULT… )

By doing THIS…
So that THEY CAN…

Hit reply and let me know what you come up with.

Alastair McDermott

I help independent consultants & specialized consulting firms to generate more leads consistently by auditing & upgrading their business development strategy so that they can eliminate their dependence on referrals. Join my email list to get my tips on business development.