What is business positioning, and why does it matter? Position in the market differentiates and separates you from the rest. In our business, differentiation falls into one of four areas:

  1. Service/Product –What you do, what kind of properties you work on
  2. Geography/Client Type — Where or who you work with
  3. Price — How much or little the service/product costs
  4. Experience — How people feel about working with you

Many professionals position themselves by geography or product. Owners often position properties by quality or location, which typically translate to price. Successful senior professionals will almost always tell you they are positioned by something that looks more like experience.

What you want is for clients to walk away with such a positive feeling about their experience working with you that they would refer you without hesitation to even their closest friends and their most valued clients. But if you ask most people in your office what they’re doing to create that kind of client experience and how they’ve designed their day-to-day business activities to transform their current clients into what one might call “the raving fan,” most probably can’t tell you.

In truth, most of us don’t know what it would take to create that exceptional experience in the mind of the client because we haven’t asked. Sometimes that’s because we think clients will either be mystified as to why we would ask such a thing, or flippant and unreasonable in their response. Whatever the reason, most people don’t ask because they’re afraid the client won’t appreciate the value of the question.

However, some companies have figured this out. Starbucks is one example: They tell their baristas that the goal is to surprise and delight the customer because they’ve chosen a position based on client experience, more than on price, product or market.

Some brokers describe this concept like this:

Because of these things, their clients and coworkers have told them they stand out above the rank-and-file transaction-minded competitors in the marketplace. So, the best people fundamentally understand this concept. Whether it’s conscious or instinctual, they always produce an exceptional experience for their clients. This is a huge competitive advantage, but it requires planning.

How do you plan for creating exceptional experiences? The first thing you do is ask: What would you do if you had to produce clients who felt you were the exceptional experience? Then come up with any and all possibilities for a couple of minutes to spin up ideas.

This is not about manipulating or doing anything to get the business. This is about finding and listening to an internal compass that drives your decisions and helps you professionally care for people in business.

I’m more convinced than ever that the competitive environment is still hugely undersupplying exceptional experiences for clients. Make this part of your plan, and if you can produce even five clients saying they had an exceptional experience with you this year, it will pay off in dividends for years to come.