Clients don’t just buy our products and services. They also buy our expertise. They want to work with experts—salespeople who know their stuff, ask the right questions, and suggest tailor-made solutions that deliver ROI.
Think about it as if you were the buyer. Would you prefer to work with someone who only knows the ins and outs of what he’s selling? Or would you be more likely to choose an expert—someone who sees the big picture and can help you get a leg up on the competition?
Many of your clients don’t get out of their offices very often. They’re too busy running their businesses to stay on top of best practices, trends, and innovations. But you’re out there, talking to people across industries, learning what works and what doesn't.
That makes you a valuable resource—a thought leader.
Share What You Know
Thought leadership isn't that complicated, but it’s not easy either. Like anything worth doing, it requires time, focus, confidence, and courage.
Here’s what it takes:
- Have passion for your message. Find your niche, do your homework, and start sharing your great ideas and content. Engage in conversations (online and offline) about your area of interest. Look for media opportunities that can help you become recognized as an authority.
- Don’t monetize. Make whatever investments you can to get your perspective known, but don’t expect a financial return. Thought leaders provide valuable content for no other reason than to share great information and gain exposure.
- Make some noise. You’re the expert, so let your point of view be known—even if it’s outside the traditional school of thought. It’s OK to create conflict. Not everyone will agree with you, but that’s not the point. The goal is to get people thinking and talking about what you have to say.
- Don’t sell. Share content that’s helpful, enlightening, and informative—not a thinly-veiled sales pitch. You need to get to know people and develop trust. If you want them to trust your information, you must be genuine, confident, and approachable.
- Stay relevant. Continue to share your knowledge and stay current on industry news, as well as what other experts have to say. Share relevant information from other sources to pique the interest of your audience.
Take Your Views Viral
Social media has provided a new outlet to showcase your expertise. Brick and mortar establishments are about location, location, location. The cyber-world is about content, content, content. When you provide consistent, relevant, helpful content, and answer people’s questions about your area of expertise, you quickly become known as the go-to person for your topic.
Buyers will gravitate to you. They’ll want your advice and guidance. And yes, they’ll spend money with you. After all, you’re not just a salesperson; you’re a thought leader.
About the Author
Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and author of NO MORE COLD CALLING™: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust and Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal. To learn more, visit www.NoMoreColdCalling.com You can also follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.