by Tony Vidler
Many professionals believe that the peak of their career, and business prospects, are achieved when they attain “expert” status. In financial services that expertise is often defined as having attained one of the rigorous formal and technical professionals qualifications, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Chartered Accountant (CA).
Formal recognition of technical expertise is indeed potentially powerful. Really powerful professional positioning though is being recognised as an authority, rather than just an expert. The authority gets the spotlight….and the audience.
Becoming an authority is the result of careful, deliberate and relentless pursuit of a plan to be positioned as such. It doesn’t just happen of its own accord.
The difference between the two can be remarkable in terms of the business impact.
Early in a professionals career, before they have even reached the position of being an expert, nearly all resources and business effort are directed into “push” marketing strategies. Advertising, networking, marketing to create opportunities and then constantly selling….perpetually pushing oneself into the market to create business opportunities and gain customers.
When one becomes a recognised expert then the marketing gets substantially easier. Relationship management, networking, referrals and recommendations become frequent. This is a mix of “push” and “pull” marketing, and is where the majority of professionals spend their entire business careers.
If you take that position of expertise though and actively work to become known as not just an expert, but an Authority, in a particular area then the marketing effort to build the business and gain customers is virtually all “pull”. Business comes to you because of your positioning as the leading expert in that space. There is always a proportion of the marketplace that want the best they can get…and in professional services that proportion is high. When it comes to getting advice on wealth, or estate planning, or managing business risks many customers will only settle for the best advice possible. They want to deal with the authority on the issue.
To become an authority in your professional space requires clarity of thought. Be very clear about what you want to be known for. Then create a plan for ensuring that you learn more than anybody else in your area, and become known for knowing it. Clarity of purpose, planning, promotion and persistence are the keys to becoming an Authority, and living in the professional spotlight.
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