Have you ever felt a jolt of envy to see a competitor – or even a friend – grinning up at you from a newspaper or trade publication?
It kills you, doesn't it?
And you know why: you need to become that authority. Prospects will gravitate to the authority on a subject they are interested in.
If you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry, qualified prospects will be attracted to you. Why?
Everybody wants to do business with an expert.
As an entrepreneur, a majority of your focus is always on securing new customers. While it is true that your repeat clients are the backbone of your success, you need to add new clients to your existing client base if you want your business to grow.
You must learn to sell yourself as an expert. When potential buyers see you as a knowledgeable professional whose opinions and guidance truly matter, they are more likely to hand over their hard-earned money.
There are several ways to position yourself as an expert in the eyes of the public. The first thing you have to do is:
Be Confident in Your Expertise
Stop taking your skills for granted. You know a lot more than you think you know.
It's self-confidence that plays a large part in determining your happiness through life.
And self-confidence is a necessary ingredient for success because it sells. It's something you can sense about a person upon entering a room. It's evident through body language and speech. If your confidence is lacking, try these tips:
Set goals and create a plan to achieve them Use powerful affirmations such as “I am the expert;’ “My information is valuable;’ and “People desire to work with me. ’ Practice confidence by emulating others. Take a look at the people who you think are the most confident. Try to find things they do in their body language and tone of voice to mimic until you find your own style. Be prepared. Create a Powerful Brand
In an overcrowded marketplace, if you're not standing out, then you're invisible.
The best way to captivate your audience is with an authentic and powerful personal brand. The benefits of a strong personal branding will give you an edge over your competition and enhance your value in the global marketplace.
Branding identifies and differentiates you, your business and your products and services so you stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
Once you have a powerful personal brand, the next step is to consistently communicate it through your brand identity: logo, business cards, letterhead, web site, invoices and any other outward communications you have.
Put it in Writing
We have all heard the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?’ If you are sharing your expertise and no one hears it or reads it, does it make a difference?
There are several ways to build your reputation just by writing about what you know best.
Whether you're telling readers how to grow gargantuan tomatoes or how to stay out of trouble with the IRS, “how to’ articles are an excellent way to call attention to your talents and establish yourself as an expert. They give you dozens of column inches that you might not be able to afford if you had to pay for an ad. They draw traffic to your web site. And if your articles are compelling and convincing, they can lead to thousands of dollars in sales for your products or services.
People love solutions so try to start with quick tips sheets. For example, I wrote an article titled “5 Tips to Quickly and Easily Improve Your Brand Identity’. Then as you become more comfortable with writing, try a positioning piece where you comment on an industry trend with your thoughts. Provide your expert opinion.
Electronic newsletters are one of the most profitable ways to build your credibility to establish yourself as an expert. More commonly known as eZines, they let you offer helpful advice, market to a global audience, communicate easily with thousands of people as often as you wish, and promote what you're selling. All that without expensive postage or printing costs, an advertising budget, keeping track of subscription renewals, or other tasks associated with print newsletters.
Your eZine, distributed 1-4 times per month, will become a portfolio of your work and showcase your expertise.
I highly recommend using an email contact program like www.emailbrain.com . They are inexpensive, look professional, and can help you track what works in your campaigns and what doesn't.
Catapult your business to a higher level by writing a book. Speakers, consultants, coaches, therapists and other small business owners are learning that publishing a book is one of the most powerful marketing strategies available. A book has the greatest potential to open doors.
There are two routes to go with book writing. The first is the traditional publishing route. This is a long and arduous process, however, being published by a well-known publishing house is like the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. '
The other avenue is to self publish with a company like iUniverse. If you don't feel like you have the time and energy to take on a whole book yourself, you can also create an anthology of works from a combination of authors.
This year I launched my own publishing company Inspiration Place Publishing ä which published my latest book, an anthology, “ Visionary Women Inspiring the World: 12 Paths to Personal Power. ’
Get on Your Soapbox
You may never see your name in lights or dazzle the crowd at Carnegie Hall. Yet there's no doubt that you can achieve celebrity status among the people who matter most to your target market when you start presenting.
This kind of “stardom" means prospects recognize your name as soon as they hear or read it, you are looked upon as an expert in a particular area, and your business is 100% referral-based. The benefits of this kind of business are obvious: extraordinary credibility that leads to countless introductions and natural, easy prospecting conversations plus the bonus of knowing you are truly outstanding in your field.
And doing presentations is lucrative. According to the Internal Revenue Service, “Those who speak about their industry earn an average of 50% more than those who don't. ’
Public speaking enhances your credibility and your reputation as an expert while providing important information to your target audience. It is important that your speech does not turn into “sales pitches. " Keep references to your company's products and services low-key while personally projecting your desired image. The key to successful speaking is making sure that you are in front of the right audience and then provide value to them.
When you are giving a speech make sure you do the following:
Inform your audience on your subject. Establish yourself as an expert and a resource for further information. Encourage your audience to take action. Create a compelling leave behind with information about your product or service offerings. Perhaps include an article you have written. Collect their information through business cards or a raffle for a free hour of consulting or a product. Ideas for getting the word out that you are available as a speaker:
Create a speaking resume that includes your bio and three compelling talks that you can give. You can see a copy of my speaking resume at www.journeyavenue.com. Send your speaking resume to professional trade organizations, civic groups or non-profit organizations. Send announcement letters or network to let groups know that you are available and which topics you can address. Hold Your Own Seminar or Tele-Seminar
Another venue to speak publicly is by holding your own seminar or tele-seminar. Create a program based upon your expertise and promote it heavily.
While giving the seminar, make sure that you use a system like Dan Janal's Great Teleseminars ( http://www.greatteleseminars.com/ ) to record the program so you can turn it into an audio product for passive revenue.
Become a Media Magnet
I worked in publicity for more than ten years and first hand saw the power of the media. Publicity is mention in the media. Organizations usually have little control over the message in the media, at least, not as they do in advertising. Regarding publicity, reporters and writers decide what will be said. This can be a little scary, however, this is exactly what leads to your credibility. And, PR is free, unlike advertising.
When you are quoted in the media it is another expert seal of approval. Each time you have a story to share or an announcement to make, consider which of the following media relations vehicles would be most helpful:
News Release Pitches Bylined Articles Special Events Contests, Quizzes Seminars/conferences Fundraisers Ribbon-cuttings/groundbreakings, open houses, etc. New product launches A news release is your most important publicity tool for securing story placements. It serves to assist an editor or reporter in writing a story and should tell your story in a simple, factual, straight-forward and informative manner (infusing your personality, as long as it doesn't take away from communicating your key points and product features).
It's important to pay attention to details when preparing a news release. In my e-book Profitable Public Relations I detail how to write an effective news release and pitch it to the journalist.
Another excellent way of attracting the attention of reporters and editors is to write a pitch letter. A pitch letter is a brief letter outlining a particular story angle, or sometimes several related story angles, for a reporter.
This kind of letter can be sent as a cover letter with a news release or media kit, but often it is sent alone. The idea is to grab the reporter's attention by providing a story idea and the important facts surrounding the story (often bullet points are used to present information so that the letter is easy to read). After mailing a pitch letter, it is important to follow up with the reporter to determine his/her interest and provide further information.
Working with the media on a regular basis is key to keeping your name in front of your customers’ and prospects’ eyes and being at the top of their mind when it comes to awareness.
Create Promotional Campaigns and Info Products Awards
Awards provide an opportunity to strengthen your reputation and credibility. If you do not feel comfortable nominating yourself, ask fellow entrepreneurs, your advisors, your friends or your family to nominate you.
Special events such as charitable fund-raisers and public celebrations of your company milestones allow you to communicate your message in an active, participatory manner.
What is your secret to success? How have you become a subject matter expert? Success sells, and if you have your own personal method to getting there, others will pay to hear it. InfoProducts include e-Books, Audio and Video Projects, Special reports and books. Did you know that e-books on how to succeed are topping the sales charts? Put together an InfoProduct and start collecting revenue while you sleep. I have several examples of InfoProducts on my site. Check it out.
Are you ready?
When you become known as an expert in your field, whatever your field, you will find that the world will beat a path to your door. The tips in this article have merely scratched the surface of the strategies and tactics you can use.
By being the expert:
You immediately distinguish yourself from the competition You offer your clients something of value that competitors can't—and don't—offer You can charge more for your services You become the first choice Now it is time for you to plan your road to becoming known as an expert. What actions will you commit to each month to achieve this? How much time will you devote? Use the ideas I've given to help you devise a plan that works for you and become the star in your field!
Copyright 2005 UpLevel Strategies
Business & Marketing guru Kelly O'Neil is passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed in business through her Business Mastery Success System™. For more information, or to subscribe to O'Neil's Arrive! E-newsletter filled with countless tips and resources for creating more profit in your business, visit http://www.uplevelstrategies.com . Please contact UpLevel Strategies at (408) 615-8150 for a Complimentary 30 Minute Strategy Session.