In the previous article, we explored how becoming the Go-To (the Rainmaker) in your field will help you avoid the all too common me-too or commodity death spiral.
When you become a Rainmaker in a particular field, you take “spiritual ownership” for understanding and solving your field’s most pressing problems. That puts you in a “category of one”.
According to Theresa Lina, those that achieve Go-To status in their chosen fields follow a particular set of strategies that me-toos typically don’t. In this article, we’ll look at the eight things Go-To’s do differently.
Theresa Lina is an expert on becoming a Go-To expert. She developed the Apollo Method for Market Dominance. You can learn about it in her book Be The Go-To. I’m sharing her thoughts – word for word – on what Go-To’s do differently in this article. For a more detailed account, read her book.
A Go-To Has Maniacal Focus
The first and most critical strategy a Go-To employs – especially in her early days as a subject matter expert – is to focus on a singular strategic goal.
She knows that anything is possible when you have a very clear desired outcome shared by everyone and around which all action revolves.
A Go-To Starts with a Beachhead Market and Central Theme Before She Broadens
Closely related to focus, another thing a Go-To does differently is to build from a base of strength. She does this by initially concentrating on a specific market that is large enough to provide opportunity but specific enough to allow her to concentrate her finite resources in order to capitalize on synergies.
Rather than a mishmash of messages, products, services, and activities, a Go-To builds her expertise around a central theme/market, and every aspect of her being revolves around that theme until she has enough of a dominant position to broaden from there into adjacent markets.
Geoffrey Moore discusses the importance of a beachhead in market dominance strategy in his seminal strategic marketing book Crossing the Chasm. Using a D-Day analogy, he explains the importance of focusing your scant resources to secure a stronghold from which to expand.
One of the metaphors he references is the use of kindling to start a fire: The bunched-up paper represents your promotional budget, and the log, a major market opportunity. No matter how much paper you put under that log, if you don’t have any target market segments to act as kindling, sooner or later, the paper will be all used up, and the log still won’t be burning…[this] isn’t rocket science, but it does represent a kind of discipline. The key, then, is to figure out a beachhead.
A Go-To Is Obsessed With Her Area of Expertise
A Go-To doesn’t just specialize. A Go-To is a passionate aficionado, a devotee. A Go-To obsesses. And a Go-To is very opinionated when it comes to a particular market issue.
A Go-To Has a Higher Purpose: She Takes Market Ownership of a Problem
A Go-To says, “I’ll take this one. I’ll own this problem.” And that problem becomes her purpose in life.
Businesses basically exist to (profitably) solve problems. But a Go-To declares intellectual ownership for it, effectively becoming the ringleader, the primary thought leader, for related discussions and market activity.
As part of owning the problem (or challenge, as some might state it), a Go-To engages the market. It creates forums for interaction and stands at the centre of those as the ringleader – not to put herself front and centre but to drive the conversation toward continuous innovation and results.
So it’s not just about solving a market problem. It’s also about keeping the conversation alive and working with the market to make continuing, collective progress against the problem.
A Go-To Evangelizes a Prescriptive Point of View on the Problem with Conviction and Builds a Following
The point of view is a genuine perspective on what needs to be done, with or without the Go-To’s help. Investor and startup advisor Guy Kawasaki would describe it as a “cause.” This is not a sales pitch.
A Go-To understands the value and power of engaging audiences’ emotions with storytelling and drama. The problem provides dramatic tension as the villain, and the prescriptive point of view saves the day as hero.
A Go-To understands the soft-sell power of her thought leadership.
A Go-To brand also understands the power of building a following so that others in the marketplace start doing her selling for her.
A Go-To Doesn’t Sell, She Solves
In other words, a Go-To delivers killer results that have a profound impact on customers.
A Go-To already understands the business or consumer problem and walks in with a prescription for solving it. A Go-To doesn’t answer the prospect’s question of “What do you do?” with their own question of “What do you need?”
When pitching offerings, it’s not enough to talk about the problem and what should be done about it. It’s also not enough to share product functions and features or service capabilities. Instead, a Go-To delivers on its promises and provides value in the form of outcomes. By actively solving the problem for customers, it delivers an astonishing impact.
A top-tier Go-To offers a very specific, and sometimes even quantified, value proposition. It talks in terms of specific outcomes – for example, how much more quickly, less expensively, or more profitably you’ll achieve your goals and at what cost.
A Go-To Constantly Adjusts and Adapts
A Go-To keeps an eye on the horizon to stay ahead, because the world is continuously changing – market conditions, customer needs, and other factors that impact a company, like the economy, politics, regulatory policy, technology, and so on.
A Go-To maintains humility and a healthy paranoia.
A Go-To also realizes that regardless of how unique its current offerings are, it will face competition. The market will invariably begin to fill with me-too copycats going for a slice of that pie, so the Go-To must watch its back and work to stay ahead of the pack.
A Go-To understands that thought leaders who don’t change or don’t change fast enough often perish.
A Go-To Takes a Less-Is-More Approach
Because a Go-To is so focused, efficiency is built into her sales, marketing, and delivery activities. Every action revolves around a single theme.
The solution-oriented nature of the offering results in long-term relationships and higher lifetime customer value. Every activity related to its product or service is highly focused. Every experience learned with one customer is applicable and can therefore be applied to the next customer. Nothing is wasted.
Recap – Anyone Can Do It
These qualities and actions are what can separate you as a Go-To from the me-toos as well.
They are the crux of Theresa’s market-dominance strategy. By establishing yourself as the Go-To Expert in your chosen markets, you are the first name that comes to mind when a prospect has a particular problem to solve. You become widely known and respected as the primary thought leader on a particular market issue, have unmatched expertise in a particular market, charge premium prices, and earn high margins.
These huge profits then enable you to invest heavily in R&D, the development of your people and culture, brand building, your clients, other marketing activities, and a first-rate approach to everything you do. These profits enable you to keep your eye on the horizon and invest in adapting to market changes. And these are what enable you to remain exceptionally profitable, with sustainable margin and revenue growth far above the industry average over time.
On a scale of 1–5, rate your own performance in each of these areas and write down some things you would change.
Theresa M. Lina. Be the Go-To: How to Own Your Competitive Market, Charge More, and Have Customers Love You For It
P.S. Here are three ways you can become a Rainmaker in your field:
Their GO-TO status gives Rainmakers the almost unfair ability to generate new business, attract clients, and gather referrals without any effort. In other words, Rainmakers NEVER chase. Opportunities chase them!
The great news is that ANYONE can learn how to become a Rainmaker!
If you’re feeling like a best-kept secret, or like a needle in a giant haystack, watching how your best potential clients buy from your competitors, start your own Rainmaker QUEST today! And change your future forever.
- Build your own Rainmaker Quest Model.
- Plot your own Rainmaker Quest Map.
- Join a Go-To Experts Mastermind Group