Leading the Pack

Hi and welcome to the podcast, this week I’d like to share the audio of a presentation I did recently on the topic of how to be the leader in your market and create the top of mind awareness you’ll need to dominate, in a good way! If you’d like to see the video that goes with it, you can go to topsecrets.com/tmd. That’s topsecrets.com/tmd. Let’s roll!

Hi, I’m David Blaise from TopSecrets.com, and I have a tough question for you today, if you’re a business owner or a salesperson…

Who is the leader in your market for the products and services you offer?  Is it you or someone else?  I hope, for your sake, it’s you.  But if it’s not, then please pay close attention to what I’m about to say.

Here’s something you already know is true:

In every market, there are leaders and followers.

The leaders are those who dominate their markets. They’re well known, they’re recognized, and people tend to think of them FIRST whenever they’re in need of the products and services they offer.  The followers, on the other hand, are those most often left fighting for the scraps, after the leaders have had their fill.  That creates a very uncomfortable situation for everyone, except the leaders.

Now ask yourself this:

How would your life be different if you were viewed as the leader?

What if you could create that all-important top of mind awareness among the most influential and successful people in your market?

What would it feel like to have the very best prospects – the most highly profitable clients — chasing you, instead of the other way around?

Essentially what I’m asking is, what if you could really lead and begin to dominate your market… in a good way.

Here’s what I mean…

To some people, the idea of dominating their market sounds impossible, like it could never happen.  To some, it sounds controlling — a little too “Fifty Shades of Grey” perhaps.  Some people just want to do a good job for their customers, and not really think in terms of dominating anything.  And that’s fine. This material is definitely NOT for everyone.

But before you decide whether or not it’s for you, remember…

There are leaders in every market. And they rarely end up leading… by accident.  Regardless of your business or industry, there is very likely a company or two that leap to mind when prospects start thinking about buying the products or services you offer.  Those who leap to mind immediately have that “top of mind awareness” I mentioned.  These are the people who are generally considered to be the market leaders. They’re also the ones who tend to dominate their markets.

On the flip side, those who don’t leap to mind are at a huge disadvantage, because they’re effectively shut out of the decision-making process before ever having a chance to be considered. This is what leaves them fighting for the scraps.

But here’s something interesting to consider…

Who do YOUR very best clients think of first when they need the products and service you offer?

Well, if they’re your very best clients, then it’s likely they think of YOU first.  That means you have already achieved top of mind awareness, and therefore some level of market domination, among the core group of clients you serve.  Nothing wrong with that, is there?  They still choose whether or not to do business with you. They still choose whether or not to consider alternatives. They still maintain ultimate buying authority over their purchases.

So just to be clear, when I talk about dominating your market, I’m not talking about controlling, exploiting, manipulating or bullying other people.  I’m simply talking about creating an environment — a level of awareness — in which all the best prospects in your target market know who you are, know what you do, and have the ability to make a thumbs up or thumbs down, yes or no decision about whether or not to do business with you.  The same way your current clients do.  Only bigger.

When I talk about market domination, I’m addressing those who operate real businesses and offer real value to their clients.

I am specifically NOT talking about get rich quick schemes, shady investments or completely underfunded startup operations on one end….

Or monopolies, crony capitalism or government-mandated purchases on the other end.  This material is for smart, focused, ethical business owners and salespeople who want to do well in the world, by providing products, services and solutions that actually help their customers.

So if that’s you, then consider this; Market Domination is an inside job. It ultimately takes place in the minds of your prospects and clients.  So the better you get at claiming that mind-share, the more customers you’ll have and the more successful you will be.  Market domination is about leadership. It’s about setting the standard for what’s good, what’s great or even what’s possible in a market.  It’s about standing out.

As you begin to dominate your market, you’ll also find that the job of selling becomes a lot easier, because people already feel like they know you. They recognize you as the expert and they trust you to do the job they believe you’re best suited to doing.  When this happens, you’re far less dependent on coercive, brute-force selling tactics and hard-core closing techniques.  Which means people will also tend to like you better. It means you’re far more likely to get repeat business, and it also means your clients are far more likely to refer you to people they like. Because no one ever wants to refer a pushy, obnoxious salesperson to someone they actually like.

Make sense so far?  If so, then let’s take a look at why so many professional, hard-working, consciences business owners and salespeople – who might have exceptional skills and exceptional products and services – still fail to create that top of mind awareness and dominate their markets.

If you’re not currently leading your market or creating that level of awareness…

If you feel like you’re largely unknown or perhaps just an afterthought among the people you most need to reach…

If new, high-value, prospects aren’t giving you the time of day because they don’t know who you are, don’t know what you do, and don’t have any idea why they should care… That’s a big problem. But it’s not surprising.

So here’s the first problem you need to overcome.  You’re invisible. Like a ghost.  Meaning, the people who would most benefit from your products and services don’t even know you exist.

You see, the world of sales and marketing has changed. Smilin’ and dialin’ will no longer cut it. Typical sales approaches are no longer effective. Pushy salespeople are now the first to get pushed out. And manipulative closing techniques alienate more prospects than they convert.

That means it’s time to change the approach, to fit with what’s working now. It means NOT just doing what everyone else is doing, because those traditional, outdated approaches are no longer effective. They don’t work like they used to.  So if you want to keep up, sell more of your products and services and dominate your market, it’s time to learn some new skills and new approaches. Because if you don’t catch up with the times, you will almost certainly get left behind.

As you probably know, being successful in sales or even business in general is becoming harder by the minute for some, while becoming far easier for others.

But that’s just part of the story.  There are many hobbyists in business — people who just dabble, and never take the time to get good at what they do.

The bad news is that they give selling and small business ownership a bad name. But the good news is that it’s very easy to outperform them. That means you don’t have to be the absolute pinnacle of performance to dominate, you just need to be better than average at creating awareness.

So how do you become known in your market?

In a recent podcast series I talked about three levels of awareness: Entry-level, Comfort-Level and Top of Mind.  If you start from the premise that you’re actually invisible – meaning that you’re not known in your market and that many of your best prospects have absolutely no idea who you are or what you do – then it becomes clear that you have to create an environment in which that is no longer the case.

This involves creating entry-level awareness. The type of awareness that simply lets people know you exist.

Will they buy from you at that point? Probably not! Before that can happen, they need to feel comfortable with you. And comfort-level awareness requires a different level of engagement. We don’t have time to get into all the specifics of this in our brief time together today, but your own experience will tell you that if they don’t know you exist, they can’t buy from you and if they DO know you exist, but they’re not yet comfortable with you, they won’t buy from you.

So if entry-level awareness is what allows them to know who you are, then comfort-level awareness is what allows them to feel good enough about you to place that first order with you.

Beyond that, top of mind awareness is what’s required to create that environment in which the best prospects for your products and services can easily decide whether or not they want to do business with you.  Remember, those who succeed in creating top of mind awareness in their markets dominate, while those who don’t are left fighting for the scraps.

And even though business has changed, you can still build a wildly successful business or sales career by simply changing your approach.

Here are 3 Action Steps you can take right now to help you wrap your head around this and start making progress with your career.

Action Step 1) Create Entry-Level Awareness with Those Who Do Not Yet Know You

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But that is outdated thinking. It’s no longer true.  Today, it’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.  If a prospect knows you exist, knows what you do, knows you’re good at it, and knows they want to do business with you, they can get in touch and buy from you – regardless of whether or not you know them.  So it’s less about who you know and more about who knows you.  So who are the people in your market that need to know who you are?

Entry-level awareness is about creating an environment in which they know who you are.  This can be initiated in lots of ways including social media, direct mailings, targeted referrals, planned but spontaneous-looking run-ins at networking functions, email, phone calls (not my favorite) and lots more.  But keep in mind, the goal of entry-level awareness is simply to let them know you exist.

After that, you can move on to…

Action Step 2) Create Comfort-Level Awareness among those who know who you are, but who have not yet purchased.

After they know who you are, you need to make them feel comfortable with you.  If your very first contact with them was positive and made them feel comfortable, so much the better. But don’t assume one contact will cut it. It usually won’t.  Comfort-level awareness is about allowing them to get to know you. Being clear about what you do and how you can help. And enabling them to make an easy decision to work with you.  And that requires intelligent repetition of contact.

Your goal is to foster a relationship of caring and help, right from the beginning, so they know that you’re here to help them – not just sell them stuff.  If they’re introduced to you by someone they know, the referral can often transfer some of the trust they have with that person to you, helping to accelerate the process.  But regardless of how you’re introduced, if you want to get them to comfort, it will very likely require you to engage in a series of communications, in which each contact helps to further build rapport, establish yourself as the expert, and advance the relationship.  Obviously, moving someone from recognition to comfort requires a style and level of communication that’s very different than when we’re just meeting someone. It’s far more intimate. That’s why achieving this second level of awareness – “comfort-level” – is so important.

And a great way to get them comfortable is to move to…

Action Step 3) Bring Value Immediately

Before they ever spend a dime with you, your prospects have to have a crystal-clear idea of the value you bring to the table.  What is it you’ll provide, better and differently, than every other option available to them?  Naturally, you have to convey the value of what you’re selling, but before you can do that, you have to create value in each communication.  Is what you’re saying valuable to them? Does it help? Inspire? Give them ideas?

More importantly, does it position you as the expert and demonstrate that their time is well spent in your company? If not, it will be nearly impossible to dominate.
In each interaction, whether in-person, on the phone, via email, text or social media… be sure to deliver value and let them know how you can help them.

Demonstrate that you know your stuff, while showing that you care about them. Ask better and deeper questions and listen carefully to what they have to say.
This will give you better answers to what they need and want, which will provide you with deeper knowledge about how you can help them. The best prospects will notice this, and they’ll appreciate your efforts by giving you their business.

So is that it? Is market domination that simple?

Not quite. But these are a few good starting points. You know, most people fail to lead or dominate their markets, not because they’re doing it wrong. But because it never even occurred to them, so they don’t even try.  Fortunately, that no longer describes you.

Now you know that dominating your market is not about control, it’s about creating top of mind awareness among the most influential and successful people in your market. It’s about building a highly profitable customer base, packed with high achievers and market leaders. It’s about making the very best prospects in your designated market area aware of YOU, so they can start chasing you, instead of the other way around.

If you think you can’t do it… If you think you can’t move from follower to leader… If you think it’ll be too hard or take too long or cost too much, then be sure to check out our next video, in which we’ll show you how to identify your markets and sub-markets so you can start dominating right away.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments about leading and dominating your market – whether you think it sounds awesome or impossible, whether you find the idea inspiring or ridiculous, enter your thoughts in the box below.  This a topic I’m truly passionate about, so I would love your input.  Thanks for watching and I’ll talk to you soon.

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