Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Positioning Yourself

From Art Sobczak:

This Week's Tip:
How to Get Your Competitors to
Say You Are the Better Choice


I've spent a lot of time on airplanes over the
past 25 years.

Still do. As a result, I've earned the right to be
one of the guys sipping a drink in First Class
that everyone else looks at and hates as they
walk by, banging the carry-on that probably
't fit, on the way to their smaller-than-their
butt, harder-than-a-diamond coach seat.

I've earned First Class. On my preferred airlines

But sometimes I need to fly a different airline for
schedule purposes.

Then I need to stuff my 6'1 frame into the worse-than-
hell regional airlines seat that more resembles a
Honey-I Shrunk-The-Kids chair in a kindergarten

And usually next to a Burger King frequent-customer,
a super-sized person whose girth invades a third of
my already-too-small seat area in addition to his own.

So every time I see an ad for fractional jet ownership
(kind of like a timeshare for corporate jets.), naturally
I pay attention.

But when I look at the price, reality sets in, and any
way I bend, spin, and rationalize it, I just can't justify
it today.

As my buddies and I say in our totally uncensored bar
conversations, you need
"F-you" kind of money to justify
that. In the future, sure. It
's one of my carrots to pursue.

So the WALL STREET JOURNAL ad caught my eye.

It was for one of the jet companies. Their differential
advantage is that their firm is owned and managed by
pilots, and that each pilot flies only one plane, as
opposed to flying whichever one is closest to the
hangar door. Makes sense.

At the end of the ad, they said (I'm paraphrasing) that
when you
're shopping for a fractional jet ownership,
ask these questions of other companies:

1. Are the owners and managers pilots?

2. Do the pilots stay with their own planes?

I like it!

They're setting the criteria for shopping--according
to their strengths--and then providing buyers with the
questions to ask competitors.


You can do something similar:

If your sales cycle is longer and customers must
involve a search committee, find out what their decision-
making criteria is:

What three points will you and the committee weigh
most heavily?

What, specifically will you be looking for?

The last time you picked a vendor in this area, what
were the determining factors?

So who does the committee recommend to, and
what will he base his decision on?

Then, of course, play up your strengths in those
areas. And provide them with questions to ask of others.

I would suggest you ask the other vendors about. . .

So, find out how the decision will be made, who will
make it, and then provide questions they should ask
the others they are looking...questions that should
help position you as the better choice.



"Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid
faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre
talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than
people with vastly superior talent."

Sophia Loren

Go and have your best week ever!


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