If you’re feeling suddenly breathless after looking through your LinkedIn feed, I understand. Message after message broadcasts a professional’s expertise and experience. Today’s rapidly evolving economy has created a more competitive and interconnected business landscape. And it’s a challenge to be heard.
The benefits of becoming an authority in your field are numerous. To me, the biggest benefit is that you won’t have to work so hard to gain trust.
When you’re seen as an authority, you can enjoy the invaluable advantage of rapidly building trust. By doing so, you transition from being seen as “just another salesperson” and instead become a respected thought leader, imparting valuable knowledge. Everyone wants the guru. And although you may not refer to yourself as one, realize that there’s a reason pilgrims will scale a mountain to reach the wise teacher at the top.
When you’re an authority, you reduce the sales cycle. Instead of having to prove to someone you’re the one for the job, they now have to prove why you should take them on as a client. The script has flipped. Now they want to self-qualify in order to receive the opportunity to work with you.
They feel lucky to have scored a spot on your calendar. They want you because of who you are rather than what you offer. And it’s because you’ve shown them that you are a trustworthy advisor.
The key lies in leveraging your authority to establish trust even before engaging with someone.
So how do you do that?
Take Stock of Your Brand Assets
First, do a search audit for your name or business name. What comes up? Do you have a website? Do you have your name as a URL? If not, do everything you can to secure your name (firstnamelastname”dot”com or use .net or another extension such as .org, .co, or .biz).
You also want positive reviews. If your business was dinged on Google reviews or TripAdvisor, for instance, make sure you respond online to the negative comment. Be as helpful and gracious as possible. You may not be able to remove a negative review but those who see it will notice that you responded and were trying to rectify the situation.
By the way, I bought a carton of Happy Eggs because of negative reviews. Dozens of customers pelted their website to complain that the egg yolks were different colors. The company responded in a friendly, helpful way and explained the various ways that a hen’s eggs are affected. Who knew seasons could make a difference?
Anyway, I bought their eggs, and they were great. I liked how they handled their complaints.
How to Improve Your Brand and Increase Your Authority
So, the first thing to do in order to create Authority is to develop a personal brand. To do that, you need to bolster your website with authority-boosting items:
Showcase your accomplishments – Have you given media interviews? Featured in a local media publication? Written a book? Provide visual clues by including media logos and images of your book. Even taking a screenshot of your article’s first page and using that image on your home page can work.
Feature an Authority Bio – This isn’t a typical Executive Bio. I have written them for my clients and myself. An Authority Bio highlights your accomplishments, achievements, awards, speaking engagements, and anything else that clearly demonstrates your expertise.
A Speaker’s Page – You want to build the perception that not only are you an expert but an author, a media personality, or a keynote speaker. Dedicate a web page on your website to list your areas of expertise and a list of organizations or groups where you’ve made presentations.
To celebrate this week as “Happiness Happens Week,” the originator of this idea is Pamela Gail Johnson. Pamela went beyond snapping up her name as a URL. She created a “holiday” that focuses on her area of expertise: happiness. Check out her home page to view a good example of a speaker’s page.
Separate Yourself From the Crowd… With the Power of Your Expertise
People pay attention to experts. They follow people who provide insights and proven strategies. It’s why I do what I do. I help business leaders build authority with a book as their main marketing tool.
Today’s competitive market is crowded and noisy. You need to accelerate the speed of trust. That means you need to adopt a multifaceted approach that includes being seen as a thought leader, providing exceptional customer service, and actively networking and collaborating with others.
These strategies are essential for catching the attention of your prospective buyer:
Establish Thought Leadership
Thought leadership involves becoming a go-to resource and influencer in your industry. Publish research papers, whitepapers, and books that offer unique insights or innovative approaches. Speak at industry conferences, webinars, and podcasts to share your expertise with a wider audience. Collaborate with other thought leaders, contribute guest articles to reputable publications, and participate in expert panels to further enhance your credibility and visibility.
In his book, The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth, David C. Baker says this:
A certain relevance accompanies anyone making a living and helping employees make a living. That’s noble and rewarding, and it’s how developed economies thrive. But I’m talking about rising from your peers as a leader, and that requires that you see all the same things they do but that you observe different things than what they merely see. You develop a perspective that other people — not just you — believe to be unique and they pay you money to help them observe, too.
Those observations need to be communicated regularly and strategically. Look for opportunities to share your insights whether they’re short updates on social media, blog posts, podcasts, or videos. When your prospective buyer keeps seeing you everywhere, they’re going to pay attention. Thought leadership is authority marketing.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Don’t be like the golf course owner I interviewed years ago. He admitted to giving surveys to his customers but then complained they then expected him to do something about their response.
Customer service plays a crucial role in building authority and establishing your reputation as a leader. Strive to provide exceptional service to every customer. Respond promptly to inquiries and resolve issues efficiently. Actively seek feedback and testimonials to showcase the positive experiences of your satisfied customers. By consistently exceeding expectations, you reinforce your position as a trusted authority.
Here are a few benefits of delivering stellar service:
Customer Loyalty: In an era of abundant choices, exceptional customer service is a key differentiator. It leads to higher customer satisfaction, increased loyalty, and repeat business.
Positive Reputation: Satisfied customers become advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth. This reputation for excellent service can attract new customers and bolster your brand’s credibility.
Competitive Edge: Businesses that consistently exceed customer expectations gain a competitive edge. Exceptional service can even compensate for certain price disadvantages, as customers are willing to pay more for a superior experience.
Reduced Churn: Providing excellent customer service reduces customer churn, minimizing the need for constantly acquiring new customers to sustain growth.
And again, if you do ask for input from your customers and clients, consider making some changes as a result of their suggestions. Send a letter or email to your client or customer base to let them know about the changes as a result of their engagement. It shows them that you actually care about their opinions and you’re trying to provide a memorable experience.
Networking and Collaboration
Networking events used to annoy me. It was actually because I was looking at them the wrong way. Of course, it’s going to be difficult to find your perfect buyer at a networking event.
But that’s not the purpose of networking events.
The purpose is to find opportunities that will provide valuable exposure and help expand your authority. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and engage in online communities relevant to your field. Connect with other industry leaders, influencers, and potential customers. Collaborate on projects, co-create content, and participate in joint ventures to leverage each other’s expertise and tap into new markets.
Specifically, you can:
Share Knowledge: Networking with peers and collaborators allows you to tap into a wealth of knowledge and insights from diverse perspectives. This can inform your decision-making and offer fresh ideas for innovation. I’ve started to appreciate this in a new light. I’ve noticed that my conversations with new contacts often produce new ideas.
Create Synergy: Collaborating with others can lead to synergistic partnerships, where the combined efforts result in outcomes greater than what each party could achieve alone. This benefit is one of my favorites. Partnering with others with similar goals is very satisfying. It’s like having your own little team. You’ve got each other’s backs.
Access Resources: Networking expands your access to resources, whether it’s funding, talent, technology, or market insights. Collaborations can provide the resources needed to take your business to the next level. One of the most exciting two words in my vocabulary is when someone says, “What if…?” Cool stuff usually follows.
Expand Market Reach: Collaborations and partnerships expose your business to new audiences. This can result in increased visibility and customer acquisition. When you collaborate with a business that has similar goals, you’re demonstrating to your market that you’re interested in keeping up with current trends, understand the value of teamwork, and serving the client or customer is so important that you’re willing to find others to help you do it. Altogether, a massively impressive declaration of commitment from you.
Building authority requires planning and smart tactics. Thought leadership, exceptional customer service, and networking/collaboration are integral strategies that contribute to your resilience and growth. They build credibility, foster customer loyalty, create opportunities for innovation, and expand market reach – all of which are essential for staying competitive and successful in today’s economy.
When you show up, you go up. Increased authority creates increased opportunities. And increased opportunities create increased authority. It’s a wonderful cycle that you want for your business.
Finally, the way to promote yourself as an authority is to create a plan. What I mentioned above is just the beginning. And if you’re interested in getting an Authority Bio written for your website, contact me. It can be the beginning of promoting you and your business as THE authoritative voice for your prospects, clients, or customers.