How to Position Yourself as the Expert
Guest Blog Post from Anna Pullman
It’s natural to be nervous when it comes to promoting your own business. After all, your business is your own creation and putting your hard work out there for the judgement of the masses can be more than a little daunting. If you’re feeling fear, now is the time to transform that anxiety into the joy of selling, enabling you to feel good about promoting the business you’ve put your heart and soul into.
Just remember: you are the expert.
With expertise comes authority; and when you achieve authority, you’ll find your customers trust in what you are telling them, and are more willing to buy from you or use your services. Before your customers believe in you though, you have to believe in yourself.
Imagine this scenario; you’re looking for a new credit card so you go to the bank and ask the teller which would be the best card to suit your circumstances. The teller looks frightened and confused and points you over to the pamphlets in the corner advising you to have a read. You’d be unwilling to trust such an establishment with your hard earned money or ask such inexperienced employees for credit.
You head over to the next bank on the high street where you ask the same question. The teller calls upon the manager who comes and explains to you the various options available when choosing a credit card. You’re given the option of 0% credit cards, low interest, longer term options, and you’re guided through them so you understand exactly which card is the best fit for your lifestyle. Even if you don’t sign up for the credit card there and then, you’ll be more inclined to use this bank’s services in the future. Trusted expertise is a valued commodity for your customers.
How do you become the expert?
If you’ve set up a business, you’re certain to already have a great deal of knowledge about the industry in which you operate. You’ve probably already worked with established businesses – or if you’re turning a hobby into a money-making enterprise, you will undoubtedly have come into contact with similar organisations.
However, when you start up a business it’s not uncommon to feel very alone. Without your peers for support, guidance and general conversation, you could find your industry knowledge slipping. Here are a couple of tips to help you stay ahead of the curve if you find yourself in a business vacuum.
- Read industry magazine articles and blogs from the insiders
- Analyze your competition – go to their websites, into their shops and look at the information they’re providing
- Use the internet to seek out knowledge – social networking sites are the ideal place to find out what others in your industry are talking about
- Stay up-to-date with product training (especially if you work in a technology-related industry). Product knowledge is the key to making a sale and it most certainly positions you as they expert.
- Manufacturer training – manufacturers realise that the more product benefits you can talk about, the better their products will sell, so they’ll usually have training schemes where you can find out detailed information. This is very helpful if you need to describe to your customers the differences between brands – why very similar looking models have a $250 difference in the price tag.
Features and benefits
Once you’ve gained all your expert knowledge it’s time to go one step further to truly outshine your competition. If you can go beyond the features of your product or service, and focus instead on its benefits, you can market based on your customers’ lifestyles.
For example, if you’re selling a tumble dryer with a large drum capacity and a clothes refresh cycle you need to be able to sell your product dependent on the needs of the customer. Without focusing on the benefits, the features mean nothing. Instead of saying this tumble dryer is very large; say this tumble dryer can fit about 35 shirts in a single cycle which is ideal for a family of four. Plus, she clothes refresh cycle is perfect for busy, energy conscious families who just want to give clothes a quick freshen up, rather than a full wash.
When you speak to your customers from the expert standpoint, they will come to trust you and value your opinion.
Be the expert everywhere
The wonderful thing about the internet is that it opens up a whole new realm of places for you to be the expert. If you don’t already have a blog, this is an ideal platform upon which to share your knowledge and expertise, while social networking sites allow you to answer questions and boost your profile as the expert.
Even if you’re not selling to a customer right now, if you promote your profile as they expert, they’ll know who to call when they need your services. Remember; believe in yourself, believe in your business and become the expert your future customers require.