How to Occupy a Location

The past two weeks we’ve talked about staking your claim and establishing your role. The next important step is to occupy that location.  The third purpose of the Positioning Play is to help you occupy it, and the key principle of occupation is mass, so let’s talk about how mass influences occupation.  Mass is matter with indefinite shape and size.  Mass occupies space and it is a factor in force (force = mass * acceleration).

Because mass occupies space it prevents something else from occupying that same space.  In the same way that a home whose residents are nearby is less of a target for thieves, settlers protected their claims against intruders simply by living on their property.  In addition to being near at hand, the more industrious settlers made their presence known by exerting themselves upon their claim.  They cleared the land of trees, brush and rocks.  They tilled the soil and they planted crops.  In other words they actively inhabited the claim.  In that same way, a salesperson can occupy space on the calendars of their prospects and they can exert influence on them by their body language, dress and demeanor.

Another example of positioning comes from the game of chess.  According to the US Chess Federation, the Queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess.  She can move any number of squares horizontally, vertically, or diagonally as long as her path is unobstructed.

At the beginning of the game however the influence of the queen is greatly restricted.  Although the same rules govern the play of the queen, she is unable to move and cannot attack.  Her only role is to provide limited defensive protection to the surrounding pieces.  In this configuration the queen exerts very little influence on the game.  The rules governing her have not changed, only her position on the board is different.

For this reason, one legitimate strategy in chess is a positioning strategy.  A person playing a positioning strategy in chess will orchestrate their moves to control the four center squares.  The knight when positioned at the start of the game can attack or defend only three other squares.  However when the knight is positioned in one of the four center squares he can attack or defend eight squares.  Simply because of his position, the knight occupying one of the four center squares exerts two and a half times the influence on the game compared to a knight in its starting position.

By occupying a strategic position, the knight can defend against encroachment and exert its force.  In the same way, all salespeople can have some influence simply because they have a title and a telephone, but salespeople who orchestrate their moves to control a strategic position exert greater force or influence on the outcome.  The positioning play helps establish the salesperson in a position of excellence that will put the odds of success in their favor by staking a claim, establishing a role, and occupying crucial market space.

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