So, you want to become an authority…
Selling becomes far simpler when everyone in your niche views you as an authority.
Think about it… What do people do in the face of authority? They listen and absorb information (assuming they are smart).
They listen to every word the authority says. Almost instantly, their own beliefs on the talking point are affected by what they hear. They trust the authority figure to not only to be right about their area of expertise, but trust them to the point that they allow the figure’s words to effect their own beliefs.
The steps below will start a snowball effect which will propel you to becoming the authority in your niche. By putting in the work now, you will reap tremendous benefits when you are looking to sell your next product or service. As a figure of authority it will not be so much about selling, but rather sharing your new product with your audience who will be predisposed to wanting your content.
Step 1: Be absurdly helpful
‘Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value’ Albert Einstein
Being an authoritative person is about building your recognition through the value you bring to others.
If you want to be an authority:
Adopt an attitude of helping people on a one-to-one level to solve their problems.
This accomplishes two things:
- Establishes you firmly as an authority in one persons mind.
- Gives you an opportunity to intimately understand the problems people in your market experience.
Let’s pretend you are looking to become a recognized marketing consultant.
You could start by asking friends and acquaintances what marketing problems they have. Then, ask the owner of your local coffee shop, newsagent, corner store, local food outlet, what problems they experience in trying to grow their business?
Go away, come up with a suggestion on how YOU can help THEM solve their exact issue. Next time you see them put the proposal forward. The receiver will be grateful and will continue to turn to you for advice (granted you provided a valuable solution).
This is the first step on a small level, and is an essential stepping stone, to repeating this process on a larger stage.
Step 2: Start by speaking at a University
Becoming a guest speaker is the most effective way to add credibility to your personal brand.
Although starting the act of guest speaking can be incredibly difficult, universities and colleges are a little known back door to achieving your goal.
There are a number of options available to secure and promote your own guest speaking gig at a university or college.
- Book a lecture theatre at a university/college for one month’s time from today. Advertise with posters across the campus. Print some flyers and hand them out at the campus over lunchtime.
- Contact the unit/program/course co-ordinator of a highly relevant university subject with a proposal to talk after one of their lectures during the semester. Selling the benefits of hearing from somebody with experience will add value and something different to their course.
Once you have spoken at one or two universities you can contact the local branches of large companies and offer to guest speak. Citing you have already successfully been a speaker at a number of universities Be sure to ask for testimonials from each place you speak at. It will be essential in stepping up the chain to larger gigs.
Step 3: Join an association or trade organization
The 3rd party recognition of a trade organization or association raises your level of perceived expertise. The preferable choice here is to join two organizations, do not go overboard and join a ridiculous number just to boost your own ego.
This step should only take 10 minutes and a credit card.
You can find lists of organization to join on dmoz, wikipedia and marketing mentor. This is just three possible starting points, google is your friend here.
Step 4: Connect with the influential people in your niche
There are two options below, my suggestion… pursue both. Regardless of whether you think you are an introvert or not, as an expert in your niche you are going to need to jump over that line of comfort.
I. Twitter Search
Talk and interact with the key people of influence in your niche and related niches. There are a number of tools you can use to simplify your search, however I have used followerwonk to good results (take advantage of their free 30-day trial).
Once you find people worth spending the time to connect with (it should be obvious who these people are), start the conversation by:
- responding to their tweets with comments
- retweet interesting tweets from other people and when retweeting it include them. They will appreciate you sending them something directly
The key is to make your interactions with them useful. And if not always useful, than entertaining.
Twitter, like all social platforms, is not a sprint event. You are not going to turn around tomorrow and see a significant return on your efforts. It should be treated more like a marathon. When performed correctly, meaningful results become clear in the long term.
II. Attend events on Meetup.com
There are events on every week, in every location, and they are full of passionate people (and a handful of wannabe’s, or more commonly referred to as business card hoarders).
The best part is each event is a niche unto itself. The people you meet at the events are already pre-qualified i.e. they have already taken the time to attend an event in your topic of interest.
Be sure to bring a couple of business cards (yes this is still a must) and 20 – 30 second story which defines your personal brand and what you do. This story needs to be one which resonates with people. The best way to perfect it: come up with 5 variations, pick the best one and start using it. If it doesn’t evoke a question from the other person you know it is not the one. Move on to one of your backups and repeat the process.
The aim at these meetup events is to get to know people in your niche and let them find out who you are. Find the people who are sneezers, then invest enough time (provide value) with them and your personal brand will spread.
Step 5: Back yourself
Before others will recognize you as an authority, you need to recognize yourself. You must decide that you are an expert in your chosen field of play.
Once you decide you are, you must display it. People will see right through you if you don’t back yourself 100%. Ensure anything which can be seen by others displays your declaration of authority.
If you are having to tell people that you are an authority, then take a step back and start the process over again.
Wrapping it up:
I challenge you to take your first step towards becoming an authority right now. Jump onto meetup.com now and sign up to attend a event relevant to your niche this week. It takes less than 3 minutes to find one and register your attendance. Let me know in the comments below of which meetup event and city you are attending.
Jason Schulz blogs over at oneleggedduck.com. He sold his online retail business in 2014 and is currently launching the Marketeer Course to help online retail owners grow their business.
Image Credit: seohamster.com