Check Mate! Positioning Yourself for the Win

chesspositionpic-300x225When we were little, we all had dreams of becoming the next powerful and beautiful kings and queens of the universe…or at least most of us did. As we continue to evolve as players in the reality game of adulthood, many of us still have our eyes on securing that position on life’s chess board and being the one that gets to exclaim “CHECK MATE!” in the faces of all the other game pieces, a.k.a. our competition.

As a business or as an organization, it is imperative that you place yourself top-of-mind with all your market’s customers—past, present, and future. It’s all about strategy…delivering yourself and your message at the right time to the right place…the same kind of strategy you would use to make the right moves on the chess board and ensure a win.

Many businesses and organizations miss this most important element—they are simply too busy to do what it takes to establish their expert status in the world. When that happens, it’s important to team up with an experienced game player (like me!) that can help you command the board.

Here’s a 5-point strategy map that can help you make all the right moves:

  1. Declare your victory. You might not feel as though you are an expert, but if you are consistently delivering the results that your “fans” are demanding, then you have proven yourself to be a worthy opponent within your market. It is time for you to share your knowledge and experience with the rest of the world.
  2. Say what you mean. Defining yourself as an expert in the field requires that you clearly and purposely share exactly what it is you know and why it matters. Don’t say simply that you provide “customer service.” Everybody does that already. Instead, say something more specific and definitive, such as “I can help you resolve technical issues with your XYZ and connect you with the ABC that you need.”
  3. Look like a professional. The buzzword here is “branding.” Other than the actual acumen, there is nothing more important. Having an entire “identity” that is consistent and connected is vital. A professional headshot, bio, portfolio, website, social media presence and method for sharing your customer successes is absolutely paramount to being the go-to person. Sloppiness is not acceptable…it will attract attention, but not the kind you want to be known for.
  4. Crowd-clan-blogDon’t be the pawn. In chess, the pawn is the easiest piece to capture. An expert shouldn’t be available whenever a customer wants them to be. A seasoned pro will demand more respect, making themselves available on their own terms while also balancing the timeliness of his or her responses. After all, we all have schedules to keep, and there’s nothing wrong with optimizing your availability to times that work for you and for your market. Appearing desperate is never perceived as a positive.
  5. Share in the spotlight. As Jason Gracia said so eloquently in his piece on positioning, “Authority is like glitter—those who come in contact with it can’t help but leave with a little on their sleeve.” In other words, be guilty by association. Link yourself in with the other leaders in the field. Talk with them, invite them to speak at your events, swap guest blogs, review each other’s products and services—be “seen” rubbing elbows and swapping all that glitter.

Implement these strategic ops and soon you could see your name added to the list of champions at the World Chess Hall of Fame over on Maryland Avenue in St. Louis…or more desirably perhaps on the top 10 list put out by Forbes magazine each year.