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Category: Consulting

What really matters with positioning?

Accept that nailing your positioning is an iterative process. Your positioning won’t ever be perfect. But it will get more specific, targeted, and relevant with time and iteration.

Your positioning statement (or Laser-Focused Positioning Statement) is a two-sentence message that tells people what your business is, how they will benefit from it, and how it is different than others.


Your positioning journey is going to start with a hunch about who you want to work with (market, niche, expensive problem). Then you’ll refine that idea through market research conversations, experimentation, and testing.

Improving your positioning is about making the journey from something wide

“Helping small business owners get more listeners to their podcast…”

to something narrow

“Helping growing technical marketing agencies get more listeners to their podcast…”

and then making it more narrow and specific to match your ideal/best clients

“Helping technical marketing agencies reach more Healthcare CMOs with their podcast…”

After all, the law of raspberry jam applies to positioning: “The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets.”



Your quarterly reminder: Charge More!

May is almost over, and with the start of June, this is your reminder, dear reader, to charge more. After all, you deserve to make more money.

Your Charge More! advice

And as Directive #3 tells us:

Click through for source

If you’re waiting for permission to raise your rates, I give you permission.



What’s the perfect reply to an initial inquiry from a lead?

Any reply (even a crappy one) beats no reply. Aim to get a speedy, prompt response to a new lead within 24 hours.

One way to make this easy on you: write out an email template that you can copy, paste, and send when you need it.

When you’re composing your reply, you want to touch on these three things:

Confirm that you’re interested

People like it when you take a genuine interest in helping solve their problems.

Let them know that you’re interested in learning more about them, their business, and the problem that they’re experiencing.

Ask them a (small) question

You need to learn more about the lead’s current situation.

  • Is it a SNAFU?
  • Is it a small issue?
  • Is it costing them money?

To learn that, you want to ask a relevant question. Make sure to ask a small question, not a big question. You want to avoid giving the lead too much homework.

I like a question in the vein of

Thanks for letting me know. Can you tell me a bit more about the impact this is having?


What’s your timeline look like with this? Is this a ‘get this resolved ASAP’ problem on your side?

Share a specific next step

If you don’t tell your lead what to do next, how will they know what to do next?

That next step might be one of:

  • Fill out this form
  • Read this information
  • Confirm a time for us to speak

Your message might look something like:

Great to hear from you, I’m delighted that you reached out.

You’re the type of client I enjoy working with.

To get started, you’ll want to schedule a time for us to speak. You can pick the time that works best for you here: <link to calendly>.

Tell me more about your current situation. What change are you looking for?



Follow-up Friendly

A few months ago, I decided to run a little test to see how active people were at sending follow-up emails.

Whenever I received a marketing or sales outreach email, I’d wait a week or two before replying and see if they followed up.

The results from this back-of-the-envelope test:

  • Most people (~60%) don’t send a follow-up email, even when they’re explicitly emailing to ask for an answer/deal/link/conversation/etc.
  • Of those who did send a follow-up, a majority of them sent 1-2 emails with a basic and not that relevant “Did you get that email I sent?” template.
  • The remaining few people sent relevant follow-up emails that built on their ask, helped overcome objections, and continued for ~2-4 additional emails.

So, why don’t people follow-up?

Typically, it’s one of three reasons.

  1. They’re time-constrained and sending a single email (without follow-up) is all they have the capacity for
  2. They’re worried about getting a ‘no’ (or even a ‘no-reply’), and The Resistance convinces them that sending just a single email is less scary than sending a follow-up email or two and getting a ‘Not a fit for me, thanks’ reply.
  3. They don’t know any better. The idea that the most useful thing to do if you don’t get a response is to send another email can be a bit of a square peg in a round hole. (Isn’t it rude to send a second email? Nope, it’s proactive + demonstrates your interest).

Alas, most people will continue to not follow-up, which is a shame. Sending a follow-up email is one of the most straightforward steps you can take to get more replies.

All you need to do is:

  • Send your first email
  • Wait a few days to see if they reply
  • If they don’t, send them your first follow-up email

By the way, if you want to get more clients through email outreach (and follow-up), then you’ll want to check out The Outreach Blueprint. You’ll get the framework, strategy, and templates you need to succeed.




Levels of Consulting (100 – 400+)

So, when it comes to consulting what exactly are levels 100-400?

For your business, what levels 100-400 are depends on what’s important in your target market.

In a minute, you’ll see an example roadmap of ‘Level 100’ to ‘Level 400’ for all 7 of the key areas we’ve been discussing.

But first, a note: advancing along any level in any area of your business comes down to one thing: a focus on studying that skill through deliberate practice.

You want to become a better freelancer? Figure out where you’re weak and then make that area strong.

Do you go through a self-assessment and discover that your pricing a weak area? Great! That’s the area you should focus on.

How you practice in order to level up depends on a few things and there are a number of choices. We’ll cover that shortly.

Right now, let’s take a look at a 100 → 400 roadmap for an example consultant:

Market Research:

  • Level 100: Read 4-8 books about your target market
  • Level 200: Attend market conferences
  • Level 300: Monthly market research conversations
  • Level 400: Process for market research

Service Offerings

  • Level 100: Skill/Discipline as Offering
  • Level 200: Proposals for Initial Offering
  • Level 300: Roadmapping Session into Proposals
  • Level 400: Fixed-Price, Fixed-Scope Services


  • Level 100: Hourly Pricing
  • Level 200: Daily/Weekly Pricing
  • Level 300: Value Based Anchoring
  • Level 400: Value Based Pricing


  • Level 100: Focus on skill
  • Level 200: Focus on Target Market
  • Level 300: Focus on Expensive Problem
  • Level 400: Focus on Outcome


  • Level 100: Track Lead in Inbox
  • Level 200: Use a CRM like Pipedrive (http://pipedrive.com)
  • Level 300: Lost Lead Follow-Up
  • Level 400: Referral Outreach


  • Level 100: Word of Mouth Marketing
  • Level 200: Website and 1 Additional Marketing Channel
  • Level 300: 2-4 Additional Marketing Channels
  • Level 400: 3-6+ Marketing Channels


The Most Important Part

Growth as a freelancer or consultant is achieved by identifying the area(s) where your business is weak and then focusing on improving those weak areas.

The specific tactical element (“start using a CRM” or “Switch from Weekly Pricing to Value Based Anchoring”) will differ depending on your business.

What is important is that to get better at any of these 7 key areas, you apply yourself, study the area, and implement the lessons you learn into your business, keeping what works and discarding what doesn’t.



Rewarding Price Increases

When it comes to raising prices, I am a fan. One of the easiest ways to earn more is to charge more.

But, taking the courageous action of raising your prices can bring out the resistance in full force.

After all, who are you to charge more? (Answer: you’re a badass business person, and you deserve to charge more).

What I’ve found is that one way to do battle with this form of resistance is to build a small reward into your proposals/quotes.

Here’s how I tackle the small steps of charging more.

First, I make sure that I’m spending that increase on me:

If this proposal closes, I’ll buy myself that thing as a small reward (e.g., video game, book, kitchen tool, house plant)

Then, I take an upcoming proposal/quote and make a small price increase:

Hm, I’ll charge $100 more on this quote and see what happens.

After that, once that quote (or another quote) closes, I’ll use that ‘extra’ money as a small reward.

You did the thing! You charged more, you closed the deal, and here’s your reward!

Finally, once I’ve validated to me that charging more still works, I’ll nudge the prices in future quotes/proposals up a bit.



LinkedIn Lead Generation

If you’re looking to generate leads and reach your market, it’s to your advantage to go where your market already is:

  • If they attend conferences, you want to go to those conferences
  • If they listen to podcasts, you want to get interviewed on those podcasts
  • If they read industry-specific magazines, you want to get a quote, article, or ad in those magazines

What about LinkedIn? If you’re following the directive ‘go where your market already is,’ should LinkedIn be in the picture?

LinkedIn can be a great source of leads — if LinkedIn is right for you and your marketing.

How can you know if LinkedIn Lead Generation is a good fit for you and your market? I sat down with Jake Jorgovan (founder/owner of the human-powered LinkedIn Lead Generation company Lead Cookie), and he shared a few ‘ifs’ to consider so you can know if LinkedIn will or won’t be a fit for you:

  • If your niche or value proposition is weak, unvalidated, or untested, you might see some good results, but it’s probably not going to be amazing.
  • If you’re a generalist and say “I do web development for ANYONE” or “I do SEO and PPC for small business,” you’re probably not going to get that many results.
  • If you don’t have a narrow niche or a tight value proposition, you’re going to face a few failures as you get things tuned up.

But if you have a narrow niche or specific type of client you’re looking for, LinkedIn can be a great way to find those clients online and boost your lead generation.

Here’s a great example of the value of niche + value proposition for LinkedIn Lead Generation (this is from Jake’s presentation right here: https://kaidavis.com/videos/linkedin-outreach/)

And so one of the examples is that we had this generalist design agency in San Francisco. These guys were super reputable. They had a great portfolio and client list.

They’d even been in the industry working for 20 years and all this stuff that they hardly got any engagement just because they were kind of generalists and we were reaching out as a generalist.

Now we were able to actually pivot them and say, “Hey, let’s narrow your LinkedIn down and let’s focus on nonprofits because over 50 percent of their work was nonprofits,” and as soon as we changed the messaging and the targeting to saying “Design agency or focusing on nonprofits” or “We help nonprofits through web and promotional design.” I can’t remember the exact tagline, but as soon as we narrowed down on that nonprofit niche, we immediately start getting results and phone calls and they were actually getting business out of it.

So if you’re a generalist, you’re just going after any business out there, you’re not going to see much results with this, so you’ve got to narrow down and get focused on a specific value proposition.

If you’re looking to learn more about if LinkedIn is a good fit for your lead generation and or want to get a look at the systems and framework that Jake’s company Lead Cookie uses, you should check out the full video and transcript.

Here’s the video link for you: https://kaidavis.com/videos/linkedin-outreach/