Shift Your Selling Position

Jeff Giagnocavo is the co-owner of Gardner’s Mattress & More and has a passion for small business success on Main Street.

What do companies like Tesla and Apple have in common? They have each claimed their pinnacle selling position. Tesla has created a pinnacle selling position of having customers lined up for months to years with pre-paid deposits, eagerly awaiting their next car purchase—all while upending the traditional car shopping model. Apple has trained its customers to buy the next release even though the current product in their hand works just fine.

From a 30,000-foot level, most businesses fall into three core categories of selling positions: needs, wants and pinnacles. Apple and Tesla are pinnacle-positioned businesses, and you may want to be, too. Read on to find out why.

Needs-Positioned Businesses

A business positioned around needs—whether basic needs, like food and clothing, or a service business, like electrical or HVAC—often falls into a position of selling based on price, product and promotion. Ultimately, a needs-positioned business constantly worries about competitive pressures around price, fulfillment time and creating promotions to beat the last promotion.

It’s hard to build loyalty around price. If you create buyers based on low-price offerings, loss leaders and slashing prices in order to get the sale, it will be hard to keep that buyer. Consider this analogy: If a relationship begins with infidelity, neither party has any right to be shocked when it happens again. Therefore, if you find and attract your customers based solely on low prices, you have no basis to be upset when they leave you for someone else’s lower price.

Further, when it comes to referrals, a needs-positioned business will always struggle to grow from referrals. Another analogy is “birds of a feather flock together.” While that low-price customer may very well refer, who are they referring to your business? Will it be their well-off family member or a fellow member in their coupon-clipping group?

Wants-Positioned Businesses

A wants-positioned business acts as a toll booth on the highway to a popular beach spot or destination. Think Rolex, high-fashion clothing, luxury cars—all of these items and more are wants. They create and uphold prestige along with the marks of success.

Wants-positioned businesses are inherently better set up for long-term success because price pressure is often addressed on the front-end with brand-supported pricing policies. But even a well-run and well-marketed wants-based business still has competition, and at times, their customers can be lured away.

Pinnacle-Positioned Businesses

Smart business owners push themselves to be the pinnacle in their market or category. Everything they do points to their business and only their business. Everything about the business meets the definition of being in a category or competing from a position of being at the pinnacle. Their vision is simple and guides every action in the business.

Through the lens of my retail business, our vision is pinnacle positioning. Our vision is to change the way you feel about mattress stores. This simple vision is meaningful to our customers because it directly says their experience will be different from all of the options available to them.

A commitment to pinnacle positioning means our entire sales process demands our customer comes first. Our marketing messages must always be benefit-driven, squarely focused on how we help our customers wake up happy. The products we choose to offer cannot be seen elsewhere; they must have a unique value and benefit that is easily communicated and understood.

How To Reach The Pinnacle

When it comes to pinnacle-positioned businesses, the fulfillment process cannot be left to chance or circumstance. There are no excuses allowed at the pinnacle of any effort. The path to the top of Mount Everest has very few excuses if any. Overmanagement of your fulfillment process will ensure your customers will review, refer and become loyal, repeat buyers.

A commitment to a pinnacle-selling position includes built-in accountability for you and your team. It also means finding pathways to create unique solutions and products that point to only your business. After all, there is only one Mount Everest, so why not be the only choice for your solutions in your market?

As an example of this, our commitment to pinnacle positioning has led us to create an entire offering of Less Snore More Cuddle™ sleep systems only our store can offer. Pinnacle positioning often leads to the creation of intellectual property and patents, and legally, we are the only purveyor of Less Snore More Cuddle™.

Pinnacle positioning in your market can unlock the full potential of your business and create more loyal customers who review, refer and buy more often.


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