One of the goals of many of my clients (Change Makers who are working in professional service-based businesses) is to build their reputation as an authority in their field – an Industry Thought Leader.
Being known and respected as a go-to expert in your field has many advantages, which include:
- The ability to stand out and distinguish yourself and your services from your competitors;
- A steady flow of prospective clients will seek you out because they’ve heard you can help them and/or you’ve been recommended;
- You can charge a premium fee for your services because of the reputation and credibility you hold in the marketplace, to name a few.
Is building your reputation as an Industry Thought Leader something you long for, yet haven’t yet been able to achieve? Here are three common reasons why you may be struggling:
1. Offering diverse and unrelated services/products
While you may think that offering a diverse range of products and services will help you increase your income, unfortunately, the opposite can occur.
Heard of the saying ‘Jack-of-all-trades and master of none’?
That’s what can occur when you have too many service offerings that are unrelated and have different target markets, with different needs and desires. In fact you’ll end up confusing your prospects and they won’t see you as being someone who can help them with their specific needs.
If you were to audit your products and services, would they fit under the one core brand message? Can they be used by the same prospect? Do they help your ideal client reach their ultimate goal?
Hopefully you’ve answered ‘yes’. If not, and your goal is to become known as an authority so you can attract a steady flow of ideal clients, my advice would be to:
- Get totally clear on your core brand message and your ideal client.
- Concentrate on offering a range of services and products that deliver value and support specifically to both your brand message and ideal client.
- Stay on-brand and on-topic in all of your online and offline communications so that you don’t weaken your message and confuse your prospects by becoming a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
2. Doubting your strengths and talents (i.e. Imposter Syndrome)
Something that one of my mentors once told me, which has had a profound impact on my business was: “The first sale you’ll ever make is to yourself.”
If you’re totally honest with yourself, do you truly believe that the money your clients invest in you is worth it? Would you invest in you? If not, you’re going to find it very difficult to build your profile as an Industry Thought Leader and be paid accordingly.
My advice is to seriously consider getting support around dealing with your beliefs and emotional barriers that are keeping you stuck and not being able to recognise the real value you offer. Not doing so will continue to make it very difficult to build your reputation as an authority in your field.
In the meantime, some practical steps to help you start to challenge some of those beliefs:
- Write a list of all of the benefits and solutions you offer your prospects. If you aren’t totally clear on this, it’ll be virtually impossible for you to value the work you’re doing OR portray this powerfully to a prospect.
- What are the successes your clients are experiencing through working with you?
- What’s the feedback you are receiving for the great work you are doing?
These are all valid proof that your strengths, talents and support you offer your clients are enabling them to generate some amazing outcomes.
3. Unconvincing branding and marketing messages
You can have the best products and services that can support your clients in achieving their goals, however if you’re not showcasing your expertise in your online and offline marketing and communications, it will be difficult for you to become known as an expert.
Are you regularly writing articles and blog posts that speak to the needs of your target market and demonstrate that you have the skills, knowledge and services that can help them achieve their goals?
What’s the first impression a prospect has when they first come to your website? Are they able to quickly understand what it is you do and how you can help them? Are you creating that ‘wow’ factor in the core brand message you are portraying?
Here are some powerful ways to do that:
- Ensure all of your online bios are consistently portraying the same core brand message.
- Make sure you introduce yourself in a benefit-driven way in your online and offline (face-to-face) conversations.
- Include client testimonials on your website of the successes they have achieved through working with you.
Building your reputation as an authority in your field and becoming known as an Industry Thought Leader is certainly worth the effort, so ensure you only have service/product offerings that are relevant to your target market; you recognise (and believe) the value and benefits you offer your clients; and that you continue to create and share valuable content that adds immense value to your prospective clients, showcases your expertise and how you are challenging the status quo in your industry, and that continues to position you as an Authority in your field. That Industry Thought Leader.