How To Demonstrate Trust And Credibility In Business And Position Yourself As An Expert

August 30, 2011 by  Filed under: Marketing 

In business, I truly believe it’s the perception that matters most: it’s one thing to state that you are an expert in your field, an authority, an expert; however it is far more important to demonstrate and articulate this. For example, if I was to, say, visit your website; is it very clear that you know your industry, sector or niche? Perception is reality. Or to be more exact, perception in the eyes of your prospect is reality.

You will always be judged first hand on how you present yourself to your audience. From your business cards, to your website, to how you dress, from the language you use. Even down to the price you charge. Your prospect will always make assumptions, and therefore that is why the way you are perceived is so critical to your success.

So let’s now explore some ways to portray yourself as an expert in your industry, sector or niche.

Firstly I would urge anyone, in any industry to get into the habit of writing. Or more importantly to write and discuss your take on a particular issue or challenge that your prospect faces.

We all like to deal with experts in our industry, and therefore if you can into the habit of authoring specific reports, guides, whitepapers etc then you will be way ahead of the competition.

The emphasis here is to write about a topic that your prospect is interested in. Let’s take a very simple example. Say you’re an accountant looking to posture yourself as an expert in your field. You would avoid dry subjects such as Corporation tax, VAT etc, however you might want to discuss the 10 ways that your clients could decrease their tax bill. Same information, only articulated in such a way that it means something to your audience.

I would also go one step further. Try to avoid a one or two page check list, but produce material of stand-alone value i.e. light on the sales pitch, but heavy on education. I’m a huge believer in the notion of ‘educating first, sell second’. In fact by educating your audience you automatically position yourself as a credible authority and thereby sell your company. There is an automatic association with you, from the breadth and depth of knowledge provided.

So to begin with choose a topic that you know would appeal to your potential client. If you’re stuck for ideas look at your industry press, look at what the commentators are saying; visit their blogs, or websites. What themes keep coming up? Or what currently in your sector is the hot topic for debate?

Or idea might be to re-purpose or re-fashion some material that you have already out together. For example, could you fashion together a report or guide from some articles you had written in the past. Or if you provide a newsletter could you collate these as a series and produce a short guide or report.

The key here is to provide some form of education to your audience.

If you’re still struggling for ideas, then do this. Take a subject matter that you know will resonate with your audience. Then give this topic a number i.e. “The 5 Ways To Overcome…” or “The 7 Challenges Faced By Every…” or “The 5 Secrets That Every XXX Should Know…”. You not only have a compelling title, you also have (in this example) five sub topics to develop and discuss.

Writing shouldn’t be seen as something that you almost have to force yourself to d, but seen as something that is an important part of your positioning arsenal.

Okay, now for the ultimate positioning tool. Write a book. Yes, if you want to be seen as an ultimate expert in your field, then write that book! Now this doesn’t mean you have to take six months out to write a 300 page tome. But even a 50-100 page, bound, guide will offer you a mountain of credibility. When you say you are an author, you will always assume an automatic authority.

Now let me be clear, you won’t get rich writing a book. Well, it would be great if you did – however this is not the purpose. It’s the perception being an author of a book affords you. There are hundreds upon hundreds of business books published each year, and I guarantee this; whilst they won’t all become big sellers, the authors will all be perceived as experts in their field.

Similarly, you don’t have to find a publisher. Once you have written your manuscript get it self-published, or find a company that can print on demand. Again, I don’t anticipate that you will make a fortune from this, but you will from the credibility you gain. It did wonders for my client, and if you put in the time, effort and energy as she did, then it will do wonders for you.

I touched upon this briefly earlier, but also look for ways in which you can demonstrate your expertise through different mediums. This is also important, as different mediums might appeal more to different sectors of the market. For example, could you record a short audio on a topic that would appeal to your industry. Or, maybe you could record yourself being interviewed. Then you could use this interview as a lead-generation tool.

Similarly, maybe you could video yourself giving a presentation, or record yourself delivering some training. Again, none of this has to be costly. With vast advances in technology, you don’t have to spend a small fortune doing this, and nor do you want to.

Just imagine I visit your website and I can download a short guide, or series of guides. There is a interview that you have recorded that discusses ways of overcoming some of the key challenges your prospect faces. Again, as a visitor I might not necessarily read, download or listen to everything, however it’s the perception that you demonstrate. Compare this to a ‘traditional’ website in your field, which is simply full of copy focused on you and your business. Which of these two examples, clearly demonstrates expert status, and so who do you think I’m more likely to want to do business with?

Andrew Ludlam is the owner of Maverick Marketing Consultancy, and is recognised as a leading expert on advanced marketing strategy and tactics. As a marketing consultant, trainer and author, he has advised many hundreds of business owners one-to-one, and many more have attended his private training programmes. Andrew also publishes a fortnightly newsletter which has some 2,000 subscribers.

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