Cutting through the Clutter with Positioning

You know how big your potential market is. You know how hungry your potential customers are. You've discovered what they care about, and what frustrates them about the existing situation and options. You figured out what kind of pricing structure and market response you need to be profitable. And you scoped out the competition to see what needs are not yet being filled.

Armed with this information, you're now ready to construct the most important sentence in the life of your business: your positioning statement. Basically, this statement answers the burning question in your prospect's mind: “Why should I do business with you instead of all my other options?”

Last week, Howie was driving a tad over the speed limit when a police officer kindly flagged him down and informed him of that fact. To help Howie remember to drive more slowly, the officer handed him a ticket and circled a court date. Within two days, Howie received 11 lawyer letters offering to take the case. Ten of them were virtually identical. To paraphrase slightly: “Dear Mr. Jacobson: You received a speeding ticket and it can skyrocket your insurance rates and ruin your life if you don't hire us.” Most of them touted their low rates, essentially competing to be the Wal-Mart of law firms. The letter that attracted Howie began very differently from the rest:

Over the course of the next several weeks you will be bombarded with letters from attorneys…. What to make of this?

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