In the beginning of building their business, many of my clients seem to struggle with a common mental block, and that is being uncomfortable with calling themselves an expert at what it is that they do.
And I bet there are even more people out there who would love to offer products and services in an area they are passionate about, but don’t even try because they don’t have a degree, or they think no one will take them seriously if they don’t have the “right” training, or they think they have to be connected with the “right” people.
But a key to building a successful and sustainable business is to do yourself the favor of crowning yourself queen (or king), and not to wait for someone else to give you the nod of validation.
It doesn’t matter what kind of services and products you provide. If you are seen as an expert, you’ll have more credibility, you’ll draw more ideal clients and customers to you, you’ll be able to market yourself and your business that much easier, you’ll receive invitations to speak at events in your field, you’ll be able to charge more for your one-on-one services, and you’ll get more media attention.
It breaks my heart when my clients talk about how they can’t call themselves an expert simply because they are comparing themselves to others in their field. But let me share this – there is always going to be someone who knows more than you, and there is always going to be someone who knows less. So no matter how far along the path you are in building your business and your reputation, there will always be someone else who is more known than you (or at least you’ll likely perceive that to be true). With that thinking, you’ll never consider yourself an expert – and neither will anyone else.
When your prospects are considering hiring you or investing in your offerings, or when the media is looking for an expert to interview, or when meeting planners and event hosts are looking for expert speakers for their events, they typically look for expert status via the following:
1. You proclaim you are the expert
Right off the bat, proclaim you are the expert, even if it feels a little uncomfortable at first. I promise you’ll grow into it really quickly!
I dubbed myself “Multiple Streams Queen & Coach” the day I launched Client Abundance. And it always makes me smile when I see someone refer to me as such. It means I’m being remembered and referred.
2. You know more about your topic than your niche does
When I was a website consultant, I struggled with calling myself an expert and charging the appropriate fees for my knowledge and experience. I used to lament to my husband, “But once you learn it, this stuff is so easy.” And he would patiently point out that although that may have been true for me, the fact was that people wanted to pay me so they wouldn’t HAVE to learn it.
Once I got this concept, I did a complete turn-around, increased my fees, changed my marketing materials, and signed on two new clients within days.
3. You’ve been there, done that
Although not always necessary to build a successful and sustainable business, if you’ve successfully done what you’re now teaching to others (and you share that in your marketing materials), you’ll have more credibility and be seen as an expert to your target market.
4. You write about your topic
One of the easiest ways to establish expert status in your market is to write articles about topics of interest to your niche. A tried-and-true method of building credibility, exposure and reach online is to then submit your articles to a service like Submit Your Articles for broadcasting across the Internet.
Articles that are published in print media also increase your expert status, so consider writing pieces for print magazines and periodicals in your target market as well.
And the ultimate “I’m an expert” marketing tool is to write and publish a print book, which is not as difficult as it seems, especially if you write articles along a similiar theme. When you have enough of them, you simply tie them together with an introduction and conclusion and send it off to a self-publishing house for printing.
(Ok, it’s not quite that simple, but you get the idea… 🙂 )
5. You’re interviewed by the media
The more you put your knowledge out there, the more media inquiries you’re likely to get. One of my clients recently started a blog where he also promotes his books. His topic happens to be a hot one at the moment, so he gets almost daily requests to be interviewed as an expert. This past month alone, he’s been talking with producers of both Good Morning America and 60 minutes. And every time he’s interviewed, he adds it to his bio, of course!
So don’t wait. Crown yourself queen (or king) and start building your expert status today!
Copyright 2006 Alicia M Forest and Client Abundance