September 30, 2014

3 Steps to Succeeding in the Expertise Economy

There was a time when all you had to do was have a quality product or service and some good marketing. You put together a marketing budget and plan, and then you executed. The companies with the deep pockets and compelling messages seemed to take the lion’s share of the market.

That was then. We now live in an expertise economy. This is a time when what you know matters just as much as the quality of your product or service. The advent of the Internet turned it into a buyer’s market. Consumers have the opportunity to learn as much as they can, or want, before they reach out to a vendor.

At the same time, they are more likely to hear your message if you have been sharing information freely. In this new economy, the companies that position themselves as the experts in their field are the ones the consumers trust the most. And we know that trust has a lot to do with buying decisions.

expert

The other interesting thing about this new economy is how it has leveled the playing field for small business. Back when having a good product and a large marketing budget were the key indicators of a successful company, small business had a hard time competing. It was challenging to position a small company as a significant player unless the leadership was willing to, and could, invest a great deal of money in their marketing efforts. Many small businesses found this an impossible task and were limited in their growth.

Boy, how times have changed! So, what can you do to harness the power of expertise in your marketing efforts?

1. Share freely.
These days, sharing information is one of the best marketing tactics you can use. Helping people understand something in your industry shows them that you know what you’re talking about. It also helps them get to know you, how you think and what you believe. Consumers have the opportunity to get to know you and decide whether they like you and trust you.

And you don’t have to only share your information. When you read something or watch a video that is germane to your industry, share it! Passing on valuable information is the key. Be a giver.

Write articles, blog, create videos. Whatever methods work for you, employ them. Your goal is to gain exposure and position your company as the expert in your field.

2. Don’t worry.
Whenever I suggest this to attendees at one of my workshops, someone always asks about the danger of giving away information. Well, I’m here to tell you that there really is no danger. You can’t possibly give away so much information that everyone will determine they don’t need you.

There will always be those people who won’t hire you–those people who really can learn enough from you to do it themselves. Here’s the interesting thing about that– they weren’t ever going to hire you anyway! They don’t need you. You want to be relevant and exposed to the people who do need you.

In addition, there is no risk in sharing other people’s information. It actually shows your audience that you are secure in your knowledge and ability, and in the quality of your product or service. Consumers love confidence. They abhor arrogance, however, so be careful!

If you insist on worrying, worry that your competition has more exposure than you do! That’s really the only risk you are taking when you don’t share information on a regular basis.

3. Build a community.
Find experts in other fields that are complementary to yours. Invite those experts to share their information with your audience. Build a foundation of experts so your audience sees you as a go-to company whenever they need information – even outside of your area of expertise.

Szarka Financial in North Olmsted, Ohio, is a great example of this practice. Not only have they developed programs that they offer around their industry, but they have gathered a stable of experts in various areas that touch theirs. They have established their firm as a go-to source for people who are looking for information in and around the area of personal and business finances. They understand that they aren’t going to do business with everyone.

However, sharing information with everyone helps consumers decide if Szarka is right for them and provides Szarka with a great referral pool. Actually, two referral pools: (1) the partner organizations they promote, and (2) the people who take advantage of the information Szarka and their partners share.

You can see how sharing information keeps you in the race, provides you with great exposure, and elevates your company in the minds of your audience. Show the world what you know and they’ll figure out why you are the best solution to their problem. You’ll create trust and added value – two things that are critical in today’s expertise economy.

9 Comments ▼

Diane Helbig


Diane Helbig Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day Coaching. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Top Sales World Experts Panel at Top Sales World.

9 Reactions

  1. I agree with #2. Even if you have told them everything you know, they don’t know that! As long as you know more than them, you’re still the expert in their eyes.

  2. I like #2. That was one of the things I was worried about. But you make an excellent point, if they find what they need to do it themselves, they weren’t going to use you in the first place.

  3. Yeah, #2 is one of my favorite points! You can get caught up in the idea that your knowledge is your power – and it is! But giving it away only makes it more powerful.

  4. I love your advice, Diane. Number 2 happens to be my favorite too.Giving away value is one of the best investments you can make in your business.

  5. Great post, Diane.

    You and I have the same attitude about something. You said that,”There will always be those people who won’t hire you–those people who really can learn enough from you to do it themselves. Here’s the interesting thing about that– they weren’t ever going to hire you anyway.”

    So true!

    Some people are just looking for free solutions. it’s okay.

    We all just have to make sure that we’re able to find the ones that are willing to ask for our help…so that we can happily share our expertise. (And get paid for what we know.)

    The Franchise King®

  6. Appreciated the comment on building a community most. Equally as important as positioning oneself as an “expert” (if not more so) is the importance of creating “authenic” relationships with people. People feel comfortable buying from folks they feel like the know.

  7. Great article. Small businesses have a great advantage of being nimble. Big companies still move slowly. As a small business owner you need to keep up to date with trends because this is one of our advantages.

    We do not have to spend thousands on marketing. We are not trying to sell a million products like Walmart or Target.

    We can easily create trust amongst our small legion of customers and follower. Thanks for this article again

  8. Yes we have a great advantage being small. We have the ability to really build relationships and provide value. And Joel, an additional aspect of that segment is that those people who take what we give and can use it on their own will be some of our greatest support and referral sources. They’ll love us as much as our clients do because we were willing to give of our knowledge.

  9. Thank you for the great article. Item 2 includes what I call the do-it-yourselfers. Even if they decide they need you, it will be a short term relationship, and once they’ve gotten what they need they will move on. We do not encourage that type of client, nor do we readily accept them.

    Item 3 really hit home as we have been actively building a community of experts to handle our clients needs other than what we can provide. Clients are amazed when we can provide high quality “one stop shopping” for them. Many of these referral partners come from much larger organizations which only enhances our credibility. Win-win.

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