How do people perceive you? Are you just another…? Or, are you an expert?
So much of this is expert positioning. How does the market perceive you? How much research and writing have you performed? How about surveys? How many industry white papers have you written? How well known are you? If you haven’t done any of this, there is your scorecard. If you haven’t done any of this, how can you expect to be perceived as an industry expert? Doing this hard work is what separates you from others not willing to do it. We can’t all be well-positioned experts.
Blogging is not simply a series of small posts and articles for your audience. Blogging is the act of creating digital assets. Your writing positions you as an expert in your field, ready to serve. Your dedication to writing is what separates you from others not willing to do the hard work of writing and posting regularly. Your writing can be repurposed into ebooks and future books on your topic that further act as expert marketing. Also, your writing is your legacy, something you build each day. There are so many reasons why writing is a great idea for you and your career that you would think everyone would do it. But people are scared to death of writing. Few are willing to do it. Even fewer are dedicated to it. It is simply too demanding for them. But if you’re dedicated to it, if you are willing to invest the time, if you are willing to use it as a learning mechanism and marketing mechanism and positioning mechanism, your industry can be yours. Writers are perceived as expert leaders. Aside from speaking — which you should also take every opportunity to do — nothing else will position you as an expert faster than writing on your topic of expertise.
Don’t think you’re an expert? Everyone is an expert at something. And people have problems related to your expertise that you might not know. Some basic keyword research can tell you what problems people are looking to solve. It is everything from decorative concrete problems to knitting problems to parenting problems. Your expertise is already within you, just waiting for you to claim it. And there are people with problems out there related to your expertise, waiting and seeking to solve them. Writing and blogging on topics related to your marketplace’s problems are the two activities that position you so well as the expert, giving value first. Nothing builds value and reputation in the market like solving its problems. And if you do so repeatedly and consistently, you claim your expertise and distinction, not least of which is people will love you for it. Everybody wants to hang around with the known expert. You can’t get better positioning than being well-known to a defined group of people you’re always ready to serve.
What’s the opposite of building these wonderful digital assets? What is the alternative to doing this hard work of creating, writing, speaking and positioning yourself as the industry expert? Quoting. Cold calling. Being perceived as exactly the same as the other guy. Price races to the bottom. Bidding wars. Everything you don’t want if you’re in a selling situation. There couldn’t be worse positioning, nor differentiation. Ironically, this traditional model of selling is harder than the new one, and certainly more frustrating. Why do you want to pick hard, annoying, lame and frustrating for professional career qualities in your day-to-day life? It is time to put the traditional way of selling on its side and go get creative and start adding value for your industry! It isn’t a hard choice to make, but it is a new discipline, a new dedication to life-long education and to making useful things for people.
Start by asking what do people really want? What is a big win for my market? If i could solve one of their large problems, what would that mean to them? If I could alleviate some pain in their lives, how would that feel to them? What are they missing that would be very useful to them? What is a common complaint they have that I might solve? Listen to them. Actively listen. Yes, you can listen in person, but you can also listen on social channels. You can listen in on LinkedIn and Facebook. People will post things that bother them in their industry. The keen sales pro listens for these posts, learns from them, and then offers help. If your help matches up with the perceived industry problem, you’re on your way to adding value. Deliver that value. Then, do it again. This is how you build your expertise and reputation as an expert problem-solver. This process is so much more helpful to prospects and customers vs. cold calling or the traditional three bid process that it’s not even close. It’s no comparison.
By positioning yourself as the perceived expert, the industry problem solver, the person who delivers value first without expectation of compensation, you win for your prospect, your customer, your company and yourself. You can’t buy better marketing than this. And the great news is it doesn’t cost money. It only cost an investment in time and education and a dedication to creative problem-solving. It is hard work, yes, but it is a different, far better, far more rewarding type of hard work than the traditional, old school methods that no longer work. With this style of hard work, you’re creating sales and marketing assets that can be re-used and deployed on a schedule. You’re building your expertise daily. You are sharing what you know, and solving peoples’ problems. You become known as a person of value in your marketplace through your consistent actions and creations. You are no longer perceived as just another salesman. You are no longer perceived as an order taker. You are redefining what it means to be in sales. You are redefining what the modern sales pro looks like. You are redefining a profession. Let me repeat that last line: you are redefining a profession. That ought to inspire you and fire you up. Who wouldn’t want to redefine a profession?