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Want to be called an expert too? Here's how

Want to be called an expert too? Here's how

February 02, 2012

This popular mantra in academia is just as true today in business. One of the best ways, to set yourself and your company apart is to establish yourself as an expert -- the one who "wrote the book" on the topic.

Publish or perish!

I'm sure you've heard of that phrase in academia. Professors must publish scholarly articles in peer review journals or they're out.

Why the constant pressure to publish? Because it makes them stand out among all the other professors. They're immediately recognized as an expert among experts, which also makes the college look good too.

If they don't publish articles and instead quietly go about the business of teaching or toiling away in research labs, they lose their tenure. They lose their jobs. They perish.

And you might perish too if you don't follow the same mantra.

I'll tell you why in a moment.

Think I'm being overly dramatic?

Consider this. Pay attention to any of the experts on TV, radio, newspaper or magazines and a majority of them will be introduced as so-and-so from such-and-such and author of the newly released book. They don't even have to go into any detail as to why the person is an expert.

Why? Because the person is an author! He or she wrote a book and that makes them an instant expert. Writing a book is the best calling card you can ever have. It gives you credibility like nothing else.

Just take a look at the recent interview list on NBC's Today Show. It includes:

  • Two executive recruiters, authors of You Need a Leader - Now What? How to Choose the Best Person for Your Organization.
  • A neuroplasticity researcher and psychiatrist, authors of You are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life.
  • A life coach and psychotherapist, authors of book for women about how to be fierce and feminine and still get everything you want in life.
  • A college professor and psychologist, author of Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters and What You Can Do to Get More of It.

I could go on, but you get the point.

There are plenty of neuroscientists, college professors, life coaches and psychologists that the Today Show could interview for those topics but who did they go to? Those who "wrote the book" on the topic. They're they experts!

Although Ernest Hemingway knew very well the power and prestige that came with the title of author, I'm not suggesting that you become another literary icon like him. You don't have to. But if you do want to establish yourself as an expert you want to get your ideas into a book. You can either start writing or write a check.

So should you all of a sudden become Ernest Hemingway? Not necessarily. But here's what's interesting.

Last week I spoke to groups in Las Vegas and Kentucky. This week I spoke at seminars in Boston. Next week, I'm taking one of my daughters on a special ski trip to Colorado and then speaking to groups in Denver. And as I travel around the country talking with entrepreneurs and business owners what always fascinates me is that every person has amazing stories to tell about their businesses. They talk passionately about how they got started with very little, the incredible obstacles they had to overcome that would have stopped most people from ever moving forward, and the dramatic stories of how they helped a customer.

But you know what? None of those stories ever appear in their marketing, on their website or in any of their messaging to their prospects.

'Jon, no one would be interested in my story!' That's often the reaction I hear. But nothing could be further from the truth. It may not be interesting to you because you lived it. But to someone else, it may be fascinating.

Think about a great speaker you heard at a recent conference you attended. (Besides me! Just kidding.) Now what do you remember most? Do you remember the '5 steps to success' or the '3 things that you absolutely must know' as you think back? Of course not! What do you remember? You remember the stories. You remember the personal stories the speaker told and the funny anecdotes. That's what sticks with you.

Is that all? No. You also begin to get to know the person. Although you may not have had a conversation, you feel like you can identify with the speaker. It's the reason why people feel so compelled to walk up to a speaker after a presentation to talk. They want to continue the conversation.

Every person I meet has a story to tell (that very few people know about!). And one of the best ways to get your story out is to publish it. Create a report or an e-book or an e-letter just like this one so your prospects and customers begin to get to know you. People do business with people they like, and they like people they trust.

Publish your story and give yourself instant credibility. You're an expert in your field.

Share the advice you have. These are the same pieces of advice you'll share with friends and family at a Super Bowl party. Document your advice in a short report or book and you can add 'author' to your resume. It immediately establishes you as the expert and separates you from everyone else.

You don’t even have to write this yourself. I’ve shared with readers in the past ideas for how to do a “brain-dump” and get those thoughts on paper. Who’s going to do it? You can write or you can write a check. You can either choose to write the content or co-write it with an experienced writer or you can hire someone to write it for you. For more ideas on how to get started GO HERE.

The easiest method is to create what we call an e-book. It’s a short 20-40 page book or report targeted to your market with sound, practical advice people can use on their own.

Why give away such great advice? You need to build trust. People do business with people they like, and they like people they trust. To get people like to you, you must first build trust.

You already know about my own e-book, The Secret of the Watermelon. It’s been one of the most powerful things we’ve done to help us grow our business. It helps potential clients learn more about what drives us at Brand Launcher, how we evolved and it helps define what makes us different from every other consulting firm in the world.

What does everyone remember? The stories! They especially remember the one about how we mailed watermelons as part of a “Lumpy Mail” promotion we did. It’s a cool story that helps get our message out there. They also remember the dramatic before-and-after stories of business owners we’ve worked with and how they’ve turned their lives around. And of course, everywhere I go I’m introduced as the author of “The Secret of the Watermelon: How to Turn Around Your Business & Your Life.” Not much more of an introduction is needed after that.

We’re working with quite a few clients right now who will be able to call themselves authors very shortly – and of course we have many more who already hold that title.

Next week, I’ll share with you several models we’re using with clients that show how they’re using the power of e-books to generate leads and convert those leads into sales.

To help get you started on your book, we created the titles and covers for you. Notice how the title immediately establishes the author as the expert. If you're interested in these or other titles, give us a call at 410-235-7070.

In the meantime, here are 8 questions to think about as you begin to create your own e-book:

1. What’s the biggest challenge your prospects are dealing with right now? What’s keeping them up at nights?

2. What advice can you share that would help solve those problems? What are the top 5 or 10 things you would recommend based on your experience?

3. What anecdotes or stories can you share to help illustrate the challenges your prospects are dealing with?

4. What if they did nothing at all? What would that look like?

5. How would their lives be different if they followed your advice? Be specific.

6. What stories, testimonials or case studies can you share that show how other people’s lives have changed after following your advice? What are some of your best “before-and-after” stories you can share?

7. What stories can your customers tell about your product?

8. What can you share about yourself? Did you also experience the same challenges? Did you follow your own advice? How has your advice changed your life?

Take your time answering the 8 questions above and you’ll have a great story to tell. I guarantee it!


Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon Goldman, President & CEO