August 24, 2019

The Ditching Hourly Guy

Sent by Jonathan Stark on August 25th, 2019

Joel Pilger from RevThink joined me on Skype yesterday to record an episode about positioning for Ditching Hourly.

The episode won’t go live until tomorrow but Joel shared one positioning tip that was so great that I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

We were talking about the various ways that people answer the question:

“So... what do you do?”

We probably talked about this subject for 15 minutes so you should check out the entire interview when it goes live, but Joel’s genius tip was this:

In your answer, replace the word “a” with the word “the” and see if your answer still works.

My head exploded.

Please allow me to explain...

If someone asks “what do you do?”, you might reply with your discipline, like so:

Here’s the thing...

By using the word “a” in your answer, you’re positioning yourself as one of many!

Yep. That’s not good.

You’re abandoning your uniqueness. You’re commoditizing yourself. You’re giving the listener a Google search term to find lower cost alternatives to you.


Now let’s replace the word “a” with the word “the” in the preceding examples and see if any of the statements still work:

Nope. Laughable. None of these make sense.

But what can you do about this?

Well, you think of a different answer that does make sense with the word “the” in it.

A position that you absolutely own. Something nobody else can claim. A Google search that will return a page full of nothing but you.

Faced with Joel’s challenge, I thought:

“Hmm... what’s my ‘the’ answer?”

Normally I tell people:

“I’m a pricing consultant.”

One of many. Yuck.

Forced to choose a “the” answer on the spot, I blurted out:

“I’m the ditching hourly guy.”

As a test after the show, I googled “pricing consultant” and - unsurprisingly - I was nowhere to be found in the results. It was mostly all Big 4 consulting firms for pages and pages.

Then I googled “the ditching hourly guy” - and sure enough - it was wall-to-wall me. In fact, it returned far better results even than searching for “jonathan stark” did.

To be clear, I don’t care about SEO and I don’t believe that anyone is searching for “the ditching hourly guy”. My point is that it appears to be evidence of a position (or at least a term) that I own.

And owning a position makes it a lot easier to justify premium prices. You’re the go-to person. The obvious choice. The one and only.

Sounds good, right?