3 Advanced Steps for Positioning Your Business as a Leading Authority

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In past articles, we’ve referenced positioning strategies for multiplying revenues, becoming a leading authority in a carefully selected niche, identifying your Unique Advantage Point, and the essentials for finding your ideal clients.

These techniques set the groundwork for powerfully positioning your business as a dominant company in your market.

Today, we’re taking it a step further by giving you three advanced, “must-have” strategies for further locking in your position as a leading authority.

For starters, let me ask you a question…

I want you to think of three of the most influential people (dead or alive), who have made a substantial impact on thousands (if not millions) of individuals around the world.

Seriously, take a moment to think of the names of 3 individuals.

Got ‘em?

Now, if I were a betting man, I’d put a dollar on the fact that each of those three individuals has (or had) two things in common.

#1 – they have books (whether they wrote them or they were written about them), and #2 – they were public speakers.

It’s true whether they were philanthropists or business leaders… selling to consumers or selling to businesses.

This holds true for the Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Martha Stewart, Tony Robbins, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs…

Sales and marketing are about managing perceptions, and the perception of a speaker and author is one of authority and expert status.

So, the first of the two “advanced” steps for powerful positioning are writing a book and public speaking (I’ll get to the third one shortly).

These are two of the fastest ways to raise your status to expert.

Expert Strategy #1 – Write a Book

Despite how many times I share this information with people, the reality is that 99% of entrepreneurs will not do these activities….

And that’s okay because – as you’ll find – the more successful you become, the smaller the crowd is at the top.

So, what stops people from doing this stuff?

Some feel they don’t have the time (look, we’re entrepreneurs – none of us have enough time!)…

They wonder: “why would anyone want to read/hear what I have to say?”

…And a slew of other excuses, all stemming from self-doubt.

I get it.

Look, I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’ve never had the same conversations in my head…

After all, it took me 4 years to convince myself to write my first book, The Predictable Profits Playbook.

However, here’s what I found:

Not only have I attracted clients as a result of my book…

The moment I became a “published author,” my hourly consulting rate also increased by 150% – which is consistent with what Dan Kennedy said:

“You’ve heard me say repeatedly that you should write a book.

Being able to add the title of “author” to your credentials can increase your perceived worth, which means you can charge more for your products and services, and lower (even eliminate) resistance to price.”

Dan Kennedy writes a book for every major niche he wants to enter because of how quickly it positions him as a leading authority. I suggest you consider doing the same…

As an additional benefit, when I wrote my book, I also got bumped from a breakout speaker to the keynote speaker…

I’m frequently contacted by the media for an expert opinion as a result of my perceived expert status as an author.

…And I use my book as a sales tool, mailing it out to hot prospects as a technique to give them insight into how I think…

As well as reinforcing my positioning, increasing my closing rate, and shortening the closing cycle.

For example, imagine being in a situation where you are compared to another expert, and your response could be, “While [so-and-so] makes a great point – I wrote the book on it.”

James Altucher, a best-selling author, hedge fund manager, and entrepreneur writes:

“Every entrepreneur should self-publish a book, because self-publishing is the new business card. If you want to stand out in a world of content, you need to underline your expertise.

Publishing a book is not just putting your thoughts on a blog post. It’s an event. It shows your best curated thoughts and it shows customers, clients, investors, friends, and lovers what the most important things on your mind are right now.”

He also writes:

“If you, the entrepreneur, self-publish a book you will stand out, you will make more money, you will kick your competitors right in the XX, and you will look amazingly cool at cocktail parties.” 

(Source)

Look, as you dig a little deeper, you’ll see further rewards for the 1% who decide to write a book. Take Chris Baggott for example.

He’s a serial entrepreneur who bought and sold multiple companies for billions of dollars. When he built ExactTarget, what else did he do? He wrote a book on email marketing.

He then sold ExactTarget for $2.5 billion.

Writing a book isn’t likely to make a million dollars from books sales alone – it happens, but it’s rare. Rather, you have to look at writing a book as an extension of your position as a leading authority which, in turn, will help you and your business make more money.

If you sell mattresses like Ben McClure of Gardner’s Mattresses & More, you can write a book on improving your sleep and how to select the right mattress for you.

Are you an accountant? Write a book on how construction companies can save money on their taxes and prepare for the new year ahead.

A financial planner? Perhaps a book on how to retire wealthy…

A metal fabricator? Maybe a book offering tips for creating a prototype.

The list goes on…

According Rain Consulting Group, business owners who wrote a book reported the following benefits:

  • 95% reported that it helped them get more leads
  • 85% reported it helped enhance their brand
  • 53% said it helped them increase their fees
  • 48% said it helped them gain higher quality clients

(Source)

Catrise Austin, a dentist and published author said:

“I would estimate my business has increased 30% to 40% as a result of the book. People trust and support people who appear in the media or are published.

I get to reach audiences I never would have had access to without the opportunities this book has given me.”

(Source)

Am I making my point?

So, who should write a book?

It’s for entrepreneurs who want to:

  1. Be perceived as an expert in his or her niche
  2. Get paid more for their efforts
  3. Increase leads and sales
  4. Increase sales conversions
  5. Build trust in their skills and abilities

Now look, I’m not the guy to tell you how to write and publish your book – there are plenty of expert advisors who can help guide you with that – however, I’ll quickly tell you what I did to get started.

Step 1: Create Your Table of Contents and a Working Title

Define the “big idea” you want to get across in your book. Make sure this “big idea” supports your positioning and how you want to be known in your market.

For example, Catrise Austin (the dentist mentioned above) had a big idea for writing a how-to book on getting that perfect smile. He titled his book: 5 Steps to the Hollywood A-List Smile: How the Stars Get That Perfect Smile and How You Can Too!

Step 2: Find a Ghostwriter

If you’re busy like me, working on and growing your business – chances are, writing a book isn’t the most efficient use of your time. However, it’s important to capture your thoughts and have a book written in your voice, so what do you do?

Hire a ghostwriter. From my experience, I found the best ghostwriters are individuals who have a journalism background and a proven track record as a published ghostwriter.

The journalism background helps because this person will know how to ask tough questions to pull your most valuable intellectual property from you, as well as conduct supplementary research when making important points.

You can find a ghostwriter by putting an ad on Craigslist (that’s actually how I found mine), doing a Google search for “journalist” and “ghostwriter” or – and this is a great tip I learned from best-selling author Mike Michalowicz – look at the acknowledgement section of some of your favorite books.

Authors will often thank and acknowledge their editors and ghostwriters by saying something like: “couldn’t be done without the help of [name].” Take their name, look them up on LinkedIn or Google their name (followed by ghostwriter), and chances are good you’ll find them!

This is a much better (more successful) route, in my opinion, than hiring someone from Upwork or any other freelance site. Those websites are great for many services, but for ghostwriting, I’ve yet to have any personal success (or know others) that have rave reviews about going this route.

And finally…

Step 3: Hire a Damn Good Editor

This is where most people cut corners. A good editor is more than someone who corrects grammar and fixes sentence structure – this is a bona fide wordsmith who surgically dissects your book, organizes content, deletes unnecessary verbiage, strengthens key points, and ensures the book is written in your voice.

Again, you can often find the name of a good editor by looking at the acknowledgements in your favorite books.

Many folks want to know: why didn’t I publish my book through a traditional publishing house? Good question.

I actually chose a hybrid between self-publishing and traditional publishing. In other words, my books are sold in e-formats as well as big bookstores like Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. The company I used is Telemachus Press. I was very happy with them and would use them again.

Now, I need to tell you – the one (albeit big) and only benefit I don’t receive as a result of not going though a traditional publisher (like Penguin or Wiley) is the increased boost in credibility of saying I’m a published author with Penguin.

It might not seem like a big benefit to most people, but it does carry some weight for the more sophisticated audience. That said, it was more important to me to retain ownership of my content and distribution than it was for me to go the traditional publishing route.

If you do choose to self-publish, you can also use a service like CreateSpace from Amazon. They have a great service and make the publishing model simple for you.

…And a final tip on writing a book before we move on to the next advanced step for powerful positioning: remember, you’re selling through serving.

This isn’t a book about you – it’s a book offering some of your best tips, techniques, and strategies to help your reader get closer to the ultimate result they are after.

You want to convince them that you’re the expert without having to come right out and say: “I’m the best!”

You want that to be inferred from your work. It’s a lot more believable when they come to that conclusion themselves.

Expert Strategy #2 – Public Speaking

The second advanced strategy for powerfully positioning yourself as a leading authority is public speaking – and it’s probably the one that most entrepreneurs will feel the most trepidation about.

…And for good reason! Public speaking is considered the number one fear out of all the phobias in the world – more than death, spiders, darkness, heights, flying, and so on.

When I started speaking, my hands would sweat, I had huge wet circles under my armpits, my voice trembled, I felt the constant urge of needing to go to the bathroom, my knees felt weak – you name it.

I was a hot mess. However, because I understood the importance public speaking has on the long-term profitability and positioning of my business – I gave myself no other option.

And each time I spoke, it got easier…

For those of you who are overachievers (like me), there are many public speaking coaches like Michael Port and Nick Morgan – both of whom I’ve purchased services from – to help you get over your fears and become a powerful communicator.

But why go through all this trouble?

For starters, remember what we talked about at the beginning of this article… The most influential people in the world have a book and are speakers.

We know that success leaves clues, so if you want to be at the top… it takes the willingness to do the things most people won’t do in order to live the life most people can’t.

There are business owners who speak for the sole purpose of bringing in leads and setting appointments for their sales people to follow up on…

…Business owners who get paid to speak to their ideal clients – and their fees range anywhere from $2,500 to $25,000 for a 60-minute presentation.

Heck, on one occasion, a client paid to fly me first class, put me up in a nice hotel, fed me for 3 days, gave me ski lift tickets, and let me sell my services on stage. I got a paid vacation to speak to hundreds of my ideal clients. How cool is that?

There are business owners who speak simply to sell their products and services on stage. I’ve watched highly skilled speakers bring in several hundred thousands dollars in just one hour. I’m telling you – it’s a beautiful thing to see.

Think about the positioning for a second. You’re in a room with an audience and you’ve captured their undivided attention.

They are in the room because they are interested in what you have to say. You’re the leading authority.

A personal coach told me the other day that, as a result of a 45-minute talk to a small group of 25 entrepreneurs, he walked away with a $2,500 speaking engagement and a $30,000 coaching contract.

Think about it! Life coaches make $35.92 per hour on average (source) – and this guy, in just 45 minutes, walked away with $32,500.

Speaking, like writing a book, increases your expert status, which also increases the perception people have about you… and hence, increases your ability to receive premium pricing for your products and services.

As a result of my public speaking, there has never been a situation – no matter how terrible or how good my talk was, or how big or how small my audience was – where I didn’t walk away with at least one sale.

Again, we’re only talking about a 60-minute talk here.

And yes, Google Hangouts, webinars, and teleseminars are great additional ways to leverage your ability to speak to increase sales.

I strongly encourage you to do both methods; however, don’t just take the easy way out and hide behind your computer. Put yourself on stage. The impact is worth it.

There’s a reason the top Internet marketers like Russell Brunson, Frank Kern, Eban Pagan, Jeff Walker – all these guys – are the ones teaching people how to make millions of dollars on the Internet.

Where do they also make a lot of their money? Live, in person, and on stage.

Again, success leaves clues. I’m showing you what people are doing to become a leading authority – and the clues they are leaving behind so that you can benefit from them too.

Expert Strategy #3 – Media

So, now we’re at the point where we discuss the third advanced strategy for powerful positioning – and it’s one that can instantly bring hundreds, thousands, and even millions of eyes onto your business.

…And best of all, it’s free.

It’s called Media – and of all 3 strategies mentioned here, this media strategy has resulted in more leads and sales than any of these strategies for me. To be clear, this isn’t to say it’s the case for everyone – just in my case.

For example, I got a client from an article written on Fox Business that cited me as the expert on a particular topic.

This person called my office, asked to speak to me about helping his business through a similar problem, and because Fox Business already said I was an expert, I didn’t have to convince this guy I could help him – rather, he had to convince me why he felt he was a good client.

Then he sent me a check for $17,500 just to lock me in and ensure that I’d take him in as a client.

How many business coaches do you know that can say they’ve been featured in Inc., Fox Business, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Mashable, Huffington Post, Dun & Bradstreet, and dozens of others? Not many.

Do you think theses sources including my name as an expert helps position me as a leading authority, and that I might know a thing or two about growing a business? You bet!

And – you might be surprised to hear – getting into these articles was easy. In addition to the tips I’m about to give you, my secret came down to pig-headed determination – meaning that I made it a point to write one press release every week for months.

In the beginning, I didn’t get much traction, but eventually I got to see what articles the media was most interested in and focused on those…

As one of my mentors says: “Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing badly at first.” In other words, don’t expect that your first press release is going to land you on Good Morning America – just be consistent, persistent, and determined – and you’ll progressively see movement in the right direction.

Think about this for a minute…

Are you more likely to work with a no-named fitness trainer that you’ve never heard of – or go to the person you’ve read about in the local newspaper: the expert offering tips for losing weight in the new year, fitting into your wedding gown, losing pregnancy weight, how to avoid the double-chin, etc…

Which would you choose?

Write this down:

Money flows where attention goes.

This is part of the reason fitness trainer Jillian Michaels can get paid as much as $3,250 per tweet (source), whereas the average fitness trainer only makes $18.65 per hour (source (source).

Media, writing a book, and public speaking increase people’s perception of you as a leading authority and expert… making you an industry celebrity.

So, how do you get media attention?

Send out press releases (which is what I’ve done), contribute on sites like HARO (also known as “Help a Reporter Out” – which is another powerful resource I recommend), work with PR companies or join an association like the Young Entrepreneurs Council – who already have media relationships that benefit their members.

Just like writing a book, the biggest tip for working with the media is to sell through serving. In other words (and this is an important tip I want you to understand) – nobody cares about your business. However, they do care about how you help people solve their problems.

Nobody cares about, say, Predictable Profits – but they do care about my strategies for helping business owners raise their prices even in a down economy. You see the difference?

No one cares about ACME pest control company, but they will certainly care about tips for eliminating wasps from their attics in the spring!

Reporters have an agenda. They have to create a lot of content that is interesting to their readers – your job is to help the reporter create an interesting, engaging, and valuable story.

Offer tips around the holidays… special events… seasons…

Give a unique perspective on politics… or conversations that are happening among a niche of people.

Oreo famously tapped into this during a Super Bowl blackout with their tweet:

They got more press coverage using the media than anyone who paid millions of dollars for a 30-second advertisement.

When President Obama traveled to Darwin, Australia, a local insurance company called TIO issued POTUS Crocodile Attack Insurance as a gift.

This was talked about around the world… even the President called it “the most unique gift I’ve ever received as President.” This was a result of a smart marketer strategically creating an interesting story for the media. (Source)

Some other ideas you can leverage for more press:

  • Industry secrets most people aren’t aware of, but should know about…
  • Consumer tips (i.e. how to find the right accountant for your small business)
  • Opinions about events, politics, and popular news stories (i.e. how the Affordable Care Act is impacting small business – and what you can do about it)
  • Seasonal advice and tips (i.e. how to keep your roof safe from ice dams)
  • Community stories (i.e. local gym hosting competition to raise money for wounded warriors)
  • Calendar Events (i.e. for Veteran’s Day -> hiring tips for veterans to find the highest paying jobs)

Again, with marketing – it’s all about managing perceptions. People need to perceive you as a leading authority and expert in order to feel comfortable doing business with you.

Best-selling authors and consultants Laura and Al Reis say: “Marketing has entered the era of public relations.”

According to a research study found on PRCouncil.net, executives found that public relations (also known as media) is the most effective marketing discipline for launching a new product or service (55%), followed by building awareness (52%), generating word of mouth (51%), and building brand reputation (50%). (Source)

A report by PRSA also found that media not only increased positive perception, but also was perceived as more credible than advertising. In other words, people were more likely to believe what others say about you than what you’ve said about yourself. (Source)

We’re building a solid foundation for predictable profits, and remember, the closer you get to the top of your market and the more successful you are – the less crowded it is, the less competition you have, and the more money you can command for yourself and your business.

Look, people want to do business with those people they trust will deliver the best results for them – whether you’re selling a product or a service – and these strategies establish trust by positioning you as an expert.

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