In a competitive business environment, it’s especially important to distinguish yourself and your company from the rest of the pack. That’s why becoming the recognized expert or leader in your field is essential to personal and organizational success.
To accomplish this, first identify what you or your company understands or does better than your competition. Then determine what components of your knowledge may be of interest to your target audience(s). In other words, what information can you provide that will educate, inform and communicate your solutions to the challenges they face?
3 Steps to Becoming an Expert
Once you have honed your competitive advantage, it’s time to proactively spread your knowledge to increase visibility, credibility and name recognition in your marketplaces. Here are some tips to help you achieve those goals:
1. Learn. While striving to gain credibility as an expert, continue to sharpen your skills. Read trade publications, books and blogs. Attend workshops and conferences. Take classes. Network with other experts and mentors in this field.
2. Become a presenter. Interact with your target audience by speaking at local clubs, colleges and universities, networking groups, webinars, and association meetings where the attendees represent people with whom you would like to do business. Become active in business organizations. Volunteer for committee work. Arrange radio interviews. Teach a class. Record a podcast or a video and post it on your website, YouTube or iTunes. By connecting with your prospects and customers, you will gain a better understanding of their most pressing challenges and where your products or services can have the greatest impact. In this way, you will be able to tailor your expertise to your specific audiences. And remember, the more you speak, the more sought-after you’ll become.
3. Write. Review relevant trade publications to see what’s new and innovative in your field and to look for opportunities that are not being addressed in these magazines. Fill in the gaps by writing articles for your industry’s magazines, blogs or other news sites. Or take the plunge and write a traditional manuscript or e-book. Send press releases to the media to promote your industry expertise. Consistently produce and send newsletters or other email messages to your current and prospective customers. Update your website to make sure it is interactive, engaging and that it addresses important industry issues and other related topics.
Share Your Knowledge
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”– Benjamin Franklin
As you become involved in these activities, keep the focus on educating the target audience rather than on promoting your services. Being seen as a “salesman” is different than being viewed as an “expert.” Becoming an expert and sharing your knowledge with others will help you gain the trust of prospects. And when the prospects are ready to become customers, they will remember who the expert is.