I’m an expert.
Have you said it yet? In public … to the world?
“I’m an expert” is an empowering statement that, to a new or inexperienced small business owner, feels like you’re putting on someone else’s pants. It’s every new entrepreneur’s struggle – to step into a new role of “expert” status, as opposed to that of an employee, worker, consultant, freelancer, etc.
While this self-proclaimed term feels a bit pompous and unjustified, it’s essential to creating a greater level of success than you already have to-date.
How to Become An Expert
While declaring your expert status is a decision, justifying it is a practice. An expert is simply an expert at what he or she does. Experts are leaders in their industry. Experts speak confidently about their work.
So, can you actually become an expert? Most importantly, can you do it with integrity? Here’s an inside look at eight tips to help you instantly gain expert status:
Becoming an expert begins with a decision—a choice to act as a business owner who is excellent at what you do. This means you’ll need to start acting like an expert, possibly before you actually feel like one.
The reality is this: if you are waiting for a day that you will win the expert crown or wake up and feel like an expert, you’ll be waiting for a non-existent, long time. Stepping into an expert role, even if it is uncomfortable, will force you to be the best at what you do. It’s a bit of a mind game.
According to renowned humanistic psychologist Carl Rodgers, we seek to be congruent with who we think we are . . . essentially, “self-actualization occurs when a person’s “ideal self” (i.e. who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behavior (self-image).” So, if you claim to be an expert, you will subconsciously look for ways to improve your skills so you actually become more congruent with your expert status.
Thanks to our human reticular activating system, our brains are literally like fine-tuned radars – seeking out what we focus on. When you focus on being an expert, your reticular activating system will lead you to the information and people that will support that expert status.
Compassion is not feeling sorry for someone, instead it deals with understanding and feeling another person’s pain – in your instance, a customer’s pain point and struggles. In simpler terms, you can put yourself in their shoes. You’ll need to understand their pain so deeply that you appreciate the impact of that pain in their life and how you can help them.
Speak another language.
Can you speak your client’s language? This means that your company website, in your marketing and overall communications uses words they would use and think thoughts they would think. People’s beliefs are born from three schools of thought: a) Thoughts they know they are having and can admit out loud (e.g., If they are overweight – they feel fat.); b) Thoughts they know they are having, but don’t want to admit (e.g., they know they are overweight and it makes them jealous of physically fit people, yet they would never say it out loud.); and c) Thoughts they don’t know they are having (e.g., Feeling overweight, but not understanding how it’s negatively impacting their life.). Your marketing messages should address all three thoughts … with compassion.
Be known for your authenticity. Many freshly minted entrepreneurs think they have to create a persona that isn’t them, just to “fit in”. They try to embody what they think their customers might like, but doing this is exactly the opposite of what an expert does. Experts are self-aware and accepting of who they are; which translates into a unique point of view that leads people to change through their own resolute belief.
Position yourself as the expert in your industry. Positioning, as defined by Jack Trout and Al Ries – experts in marketing and branding and authors of the book “Positioning”, is defined as “the act of designing your company’s offer and image to occupy a distinctive place in the industry. It’s how you ‘place’ the product in the mind of the consumer.” Positioning is based on: a) Products and features – what distinguishes your brand from others; b) Benefits you offer – based on the needs of your clients, the solution you provide; c) The category you compete within; d) The occasions your product or services are used for; and e) Comparison with a lesser product.
Have a Vision
Experts have such a strong belief in what they do they represent hope for their clients. They embody the core of their belief, and because of this they are able to create change. Experts see what their clients cannot.
Tell Your Story
To be known as an expert you’ll need to tell your story. When you really know a subject matter, you have come to that conclusion by understanding how your life played into your story. An expert has a strong and impactful story about their journey.
Experts exhibit a high sense of consistency in their message, brand, and marketing. Experts must operate at a higher level than the clients they serve, and consistency is a demonstration not only of their brand, but also of their ability to manage as an expert.
As you can see, the term “expert” has more to do than just your skill level. It’s a standard, a state of mind, and an embodiment of who you are as a person and who you need to be in your business. Claiming expert status works on two levels. It changes your positioning in the eyes of your potential clients, and it changes your positioning in your mind, so that you are able to market your business like only an expert would.
So, what are you waiting for? You indeed are an expert.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Shana Yao is an award-winning Business and Marketing Strategist, Leadership Mentor, and Founder of Your Marketing Mastermind. Yao helps high-achieving, purpose-driven entrepreneurs achieve success on their terms with her signature Mastermind Masterclass – the most powerful and life-changing way to creating a business of your dreams based on your talents, strengths, and life experience. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur she led an established coprorate career as a Marketing Director at several high profile shopping centers and districts, including the famed Rodeo Drive. Connect with @shanalynnyao on Twitter.
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