Pre-eminent is a term that you may have already heard but are not fully familiar with. Many people I speak with are not exactly sure of its meaning and how it can be applicable to them and their business. This is a tricky one as becoming pre-eminent in business is not something that can happen overnight; however, it is a potentially very powerful marketing tool.
In this article, I’ll hopefully shed some light on the term itself and share some tips on how you can start your business journey towards pre-eminence.
What is pre-eminence?
To put it simply, pre-eminence means to attain a position of widely recognised authority. A pre-eminent business is one that provides the most valuable product or service in its industry. Pre-eminent businesses are market leaders: they innovate, garner wide-reaching respect and are often replicated by the competition. However, clients recognise the value of a pre-eminent business and, if they can afford it, will more often than not choose them, knowing they’re guaranteed the highest possible quality.
A perfect example of a pre-eminent business is Apple. They are widely regarded as providing the best quality, innovative technology in the industry. They are held in high-esteem and regularly talked about in the market. As such, they charge premium rates because their clients know that they’re receiving premium quality in return.
The strategy of pre-eminence has, in large part, been championed and fleshed out by marketing guru, Jay Abraham. Personally, I am aligned with Abraham’s teachings on the subject; however, the strategies I usually discuss around pre-eminence are about how to achieve the position through LinkedIn.
What does a business gain through being pre-eminent?
Firstly, as with Apple, pre-eminent businesses know that they can charge the highest rates for their product or service. When marketing, they don’t have to focus on price as they know that their premium rates are justified by providing the best quality on the market.
Because pre-eminent businesses are so well-known and respected in their industries, they can actually choose which clients they want to work with and which they don’t. Of course, this doesn’t apply to a product producing company like Apple, but it is very applicable and useful for service-based businesses. By handpicking their clients, they can filter out potentially problematic customers who may go on to waste time and damage the business’s impeachable reputation.
Businesses that reach the level of pre-eminence no longer have to worry about the dreaded sales pitch. Instead, clients know exactly what they deliver and come to them asking for their services. Again, this is a huge timesaver that I’m sure any business owner can appreciate the value of.
How can you become pre-eminent in business?
So, here is the all important question.
As I said above, becoming pre-eminent is no easy task. It is a long-term plan, a journey. Before a business can make the transition into pre-eminence, they must first have a great deal of credibility; this level comes from having a brilliant service or product that consistently delivers the highest quality to your clients. That said, transitioning into a position of pre-eminence is a conscious decision made in business and there are – when your business is ready – certain steps you can take in order to get there.
Your first step towards becoming pre-eminent will be to decide exactly what your niche is. This will be a specific area within an industry. Once you have decided upon your niche, you can set about positioning yourself as the number one expert in that field.
Secondly, becoming pre-eminent will require a shift in approach to business; in particular, your mindset towards clients. While most businesses focus on selling a product or service, a pre-eminent business will focus on creating trust with clients. A business wishing to become pre-eminent must position itself as an omniscient expert in the industry. A client must have an unwavering trust in the business’ ability to consistently deliver the highest quality service or product available.
In order to deliver this quality, you must have a fundamental, all-encompassing knowledge of your client. It’s all very well and good having the best service or product on the market, but you also need to ensure that your business is, above all else, serving your clients’ specific needs. Of course, to do this you need to know exactly what those needs are. Again, this comes down to having an unrivalled knowledge of the market or, at the very least, one that is superior to that of your clients.
A preeminent business is more concerned with the value their product or service will bring to clients rather than the financial return. (This is somewhat ironic as becoming a preeminent business offers huge financial rewards.) A company making the transition into pre-eminence can do this by sharing as much high-quality content and advice that is relevant to their niche as possible. This is a great way to position yourself as an expert while at the same time garnering a larger following and showing the industry that meeting your clients’ needs is your highest priority. (You can promote content via a blog, YouTube channel, podcast interviews and radio shows. In my last book, Social Media Secret Sauce, I explain how you can use these media to build a highly-targeted following.)
Of course, for many business owners, making the transition to pre-eminence may seem like a distant dream. However, if it’s a goal of yours then there’s no reason why you can’t begin taking the necessary steps to positioning you and your business as pre-eminent.
For more information on pre-eminence and advice on how you can achieve it, I would certainly recommend looking up Jay Abraham’s articles and lectures (many of which are free to access online). Also, check out my latest book, The LinkedIn Playbook, for a step-by-step guide to creating pre-eminence, particularly by using LinkedIn as your platform.