Know Your Place: Why Positioning is the Key to Success

Why is it that two firms – whether it’s law, real estate or financial firms – operating in the same city and focusing on the same practice area can have wildly different revenue? It all comes down to their positioning: where the firms have placed themselves in the market. Firms that understand their niche and intentionally market themselves to specific kinds of clients tend to be more successful than firms that don’t have a clear picture of what differentiates them.

Positioning isn’t just the area you practice in; it develops through a combination of your firm’s characteristics. Consciously positioning your firm is important not just because it affects your marketing activity, but because it informs your entire business strategy. The following three questions can help you define your positioning.

What services are needed?

The first step in positioning is figuring out what benefits you can provide that are lacking in the marketplace. Take a look at your competition and see how you stack up. Where are they succeeding? More importantly, where are they struggling? Is it in an area where your firm can step in? Don’t think of this just in terms of legal, real estate or finance services. Maybe your competition has a reputation for being expensive, and your firm offers clients a money-saving payment model. Whatever it is, your firm’s distinctive benefit is the foundation for your positioning strategy.

Who is your ideal client?

Pinpoint the clients that you enjoyed representing, or the type of client that you would like to see more. What ties them all together? What do they need or value? Understanding their needs will help you target your services to them. Demographics are also important to consider. Are you located in a large city full of wealthy business-people who will become regular clients? Knowing this will help you refine your marketing and business strategy.

What do you do better than anyone else?

Lastly, after ensuring that your services are needed, the key to positioning is identifying and marketing your firm’s differentiation point. For example, there might be many firms located in the same area, but perhaps there’s one firm that has worked on different clients involving different issues. The firm can leverage that expertise to differentiate itself from the competition. Although it may take a little digging, every firm has at least one characteristic that no other firm shares. What is yours?

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