In a crowded world where everybody is fighting to be noticed, what makes professionals stand out? Is it their looks, their personality or their expertise? I will admit I really do like good looking people and I do like people who are fun to be with but in the end the most important thing I need is people who can help me move my business forward. I mention this because I believe people have to become brilliant at branding their expertise more than anything else. This is especially true the more one moves up the corporate ladder.
When you face a glut in the market (i.e. lots of choice available) it really is a risky proposition to simply hope you will be perceived to be better over the matter of a few meetings. Sadly because of the glut there are lots of great people available to do what you do. In fact, in the last few months I have witnessed many situations where great people took home the silver medal because companies perceived there was someone else who was just a little better. I know it’s not fair but perception beats reality nine times out of ten.
So here’s something I want you to remember… “There is no exact definition for what makes someone the expert but there is a perception of who the experts are. Expertise is a brand that is created when you take deep knowledge and couple it with an industry reputation of knowing how to apply it. However, you don’t really have to be the expert but you do have to be perceived as the expert.
So what are you doing to create the perception that you are the expert that can make the difference?
First off, experts must stand for something because no one can be amazing at everything. Wayne Gretzky was amazing at putting the puck in the net. Technically he was a lousy skater, he sure wasn’t tough but when it came to scoring goals he was the expert. You need to look at your market and decide where your strengths need to be. While it may seem like a scary proposition the law of sacrifice says “you have to give up something to get something.” Once you have decided where your expertise lies set a plan to grow your skills every day. It doesn’t take a lot of time just 30-60 minutes each and every day and I guarantee you will be an expert in no time at all.
Once you have developed a body of knowledge you must then create a strategy to communicate your expertise to the world. You can create a website, write a blog, speak to groups, create audio/video clips or simply start asking brilliant questions that define you as an industry thought leader. The key is to do something every week that reaches out to others and builds up your brand as the expert. If you write a blog then invite people to read it. If you post audio/video clips then tag them with keywords and link them to your website. If you write articles make sure you place them where your target companies will read them.
Your goal is to create a pull strategy whereby companies are drawn to your expertise before you even know who they are. What you need is your brand to start pulling opportunities in like your recruiting efforts were in cruise control. Soon you should notice is that as your brand begins to distinguish you, companies will start to perceive you as the best one to solve their problems. Remember the Law of Perception says “it’s not a battle of skills but a battle of perception as to who offers more value that often wins.”