Being seen as an authority in your field is pretty much your ticket to building a successful business - it is most certainly a requirement to having long term relationships with your clients.
In the future I will talk about the options you have in regard to the material you produce, and where and how you might share that with the world, and other things you can do to promote yourself as this authority.
I want to focus in on some basics you must have in place before you embark on this journey of creating that profile of you as an authority.
1. Top quality service. While this may seem obvious, please do not ignore. It is absolutely basic. Everything about the interaction between you and your client must be top class. This includes the speed of your responsiveness, the quality of the material you share, the technology you use, etc. - everything must be of the highest order.
Every contact point your client has with you makes a statement about you. Absolutely fundamental - and critical.
2. Credentials/Testimonials: If industry credentials form part of your world, then they must be evident.
Also, client testimonials from real people - not “J.M. from New York”! – who can vouch for your brilliance. Unless they are from real people, and you can share their names and where they come from, don’t use them at all. It looks like you made them up.
3. Appropriate pricing. This is where so many come a cropper! I use the term “appropriate pricing” carefully. I cannot determine what is the appropriate pricing is for your business. But I can tell you that you are the one who puts a value on your service. If you are in the “bargain basement” category of pricing then you cannot possibly be seen as an authority. This sort of pricing approach screams “I’m desperate, and I’ll work for anything”. Not the message that comes from an authority!
4. Be a lifelong learner. You must embrace this concept or you will be left behind. Keep in mind what Warren Bennis said: “It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from followers.” Learn to study every day - every day you don’t, that day is lost to you forever!
5. Understand the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be. Sounds really obvious doesn’t it? So many do not do this exercise, and it is so simple - and yet very revealing! (Perhaps the clue as to why many don’t do it is there!!).
It is pretty simple - there are 3 steps to it. Firstly, what do I want to be known for? - be specific. Secondly, where am I right now in regard to that ambition and what is the gap? Thirdly, make a plan to fill the gap.
6. Being likeable. Sounds odd to you? How can you make yourself likeable? Sadly, if you are fundamentally unlikeable then there is nothing I nor anyone else can do about it. But, thankfully that is a rare situation indeed.
But being likeable is important. As Tim Sanders said in his book “The Likeability Factor”, “….when people like the source of the message, they trust the message.”
Likeability builds trust - and one critical ingredient in likeability is that your actions underline how much you care about others. You are there to serve!
I cannot overstate how important this piece of work is to establish yourself as an authority. It really is the foundation.
I know that many overlook doing this bit - it is not so exciting, and also I might not like some of the findings! But, please do it.
John A Murphy