Executive Insider

Becoming the Expert

Imagine that you needed specialist surgery. Who would you turn to? Would it be your car mechanic? Would it be your plumber? I don’t know about you, but given that I wanted them to operate on me,  it’s unlikely they’d be my first choice! I trust my mechanic with my car, and I trust my plumber with my boiler, but I would have serious misgivings about their skills with a surgeon’s knife.

Why Do We Seek Out Experts?

But why do I feel that way? For all I know, they may be exceptional surgeons, after all, they are both great with their hands. But I’m still not going to take the risk. For me, they have no experience, no qualifications and no surviving patients who I can quiz! I don’t want a novice helping me with my problem. I want the best.

Whenever we need specific guidance or help, we turn to the expert in that field. People who have experience, verified credentials and specialist qualifications are seen as the best people to help us overcome our problems. We trust them; we believe they know best; we feel that they will provide the best possible service or product. They have our stamp of approval.

How to Become an Expert?

For some professions, education and qualifications are fundamental, and there is no getting away from that.  Without the time spent in study, or without attaining a certain standard, you might not even be able to operate as a business. But what about the likes of artists, writers, shop keepers and clothing manufacturers? You don’t necessarily need a formal certificate that publicly proclaims your talent in order to run your business, so how can you become an expert?

For me, the single most effective way to become an expert is to learn from an expert. Read their books, attend their courses, devour their online content, and, if cost permits, employ them as your mentor, but make sure you never stop learning! Taking onboard the ideas, teachings and best practices of others is nothing to be ashamed of- after all, it’s how we all learn from a very early age.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You can’t buy experience, but it’s not just founded on time spent in your industry- it’s founded on what you have learnt and what you have tried. Taking on board the ideas of others and translating them for your business will give you varying results, but if you continue to review, adapt and innovate what you have in place, your experience becomes vast.

Why Is Being an Expert Important?

Being put on that expert pedestal is a powerful position for your business. Experts, whether that’s an individual or a company, will have customers queueing out of their door. They will be actively approached by potential clients, rather than having to jostle with their competitors in the marketplace to find new leads or clients. This generally means they make more profit, spend less time marketing, and can attract the best employees to work within their company.

Positioning yourself as the expert immediately tells people that you are the best in your field, so they automatically are drawn to your product or service.

How Can You Tell People You’re an Expert?

If you feel that you are an expert, and, frankly, who can say you’re not, make sure you shout about it! However, simply telling people you’re an expert doesn’t wash- you need to justify this statement and give people evidence that you are who you say you are.

Here are some powerful ways to not only share your knowledge, but to also establish yourself as an expert:

  1. Become an Author
    “We all have a book inside of us”. I couldn’t agree more. If you know your business better than anyone, why not share your insight and expertise? People immediately perceive authors as experts, purely because there is solid evidence (i.e. a book) that proves it.
    With so many publication options available now, literally anyone can become an author. For the fortunate few, large publishing houses will take on your book, and you’ll get paid for the privilege, but these opportunities, especially with business books, can be rare. Instead, there are an abundance of self-publishing options and ‘half-way house’ publishers available, so literally anyone can get their book out in the public forum.
    You don’t even need to sell your book to become an expert. Simply giving away of a copy of your book is the one of the most impactful forms of marketing. It’s effectively the best business card you’ll ever have.
  2. Become a Blogger/Vlogger or a Podcaster
    If the Millennials and Gen-Zers have taught us anything, it’s the power of self-promotion. With so many free marketing mediums available online, all of us can publish written, video  or audio content for the world to see.
    Whether you publish blogs on your website, vlogs on Youtube or Vimeo, or simply send a digital newsletter to your clients, producing content and sharing your expertise and knowledge establishes you as an expert. It will also help you to build a fan base.
    There are also a multitude of magazines and online publications that ask for content from external contributors. By sending them your content, you not only reach a wider audience, but you also receive a third-party endorsement that further strengthens your expert moniker.
  3. Become a Speaker
    Another way to become the expert on your subject is to speak about it from a stage. Being booked as a speaker can be challenging, especially if you want to be paid, but by having a book or a fan-base built through your blog, vlog or podcast, you could become a desirable guest speaker.
    Even if you are not offered any speaking gigs, you can always host your own events. When people attend an event, the person hoisting is immediately regarded as the expert, as the teacher and as the most knowledgeable person in the room. The same can be said with webinars, so you can host your own event relatively cheaply.
  4. Court the Media
    Finally, the other way you can become the expert is to be featured in the media. Whether that be newspapers, radio or TV, being featured in a third-party publication will massively raise people’s perception of you, and you will rapidly become the expert in their eyes. The problem is that this isn’t an easy thing to do. Unless you can identify your very own niche, it is difficult to get through the gatekeepers and, depending on your sector, even paying PR specialists is not always effective, as they need something compelling to work with, but don’t let that deter you.

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Charlie Reading
Charlie Reading is the director and founder of five companies: Efficient Portfolio, Efficient Portfolio Investments, Efficient Portfolio Wealth Management, E-Paraplan and Tribeathlon. He is a passionate entrepreneur who is dedicated to helping others thrive i their personal and professional adventures. Charlie is also author of Entrepreneurial Happiness (LID Publishing, 2020) and you can visit his website here. Charlie Reading is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.