The year of the experts

Former Solicitor Gen...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I’m not going to beat around the bush. I may call myself an IT consultant, but really I’m a sales person. ALL consultants are sales people. In whatever guise they wrap up their advice, they are essentially selling their clients their opinion. And the most effective consultants are the ones who are the best sales people. However, this is not a bad thing. Too many times I hear friends, family and colleagues whine about being sold too on the phone, via TV adverts and over the internet. That’s the mark of a bad sales person. If your client knows he’s being sold too, you’re no longer a consultant.

So what’s the difference between a sales person and a consultant? In my humble opinion, the clue is in the title. Consultants consult with their clients. They find out what problems they’re having. They understand how that is effecting their business. Then on the back of this, they recommend a solution, either theirs or someone else’s, that they are confident will resolve the issue at hand.

This is all common knowledge. However, one thing that distinguishes good consultants from great consultants is the fact that some pursue clients, while others attract them. And the reason? Because the latter are perceived to be experts within their field of knowledge. Think about it. When was the last time you received unsolicited communication from a lawyer or solicitor? Usually, lawyers and solicitors position themselves as experts within their field of knowledge to attract the bulk of their clientele. I’m not saying they don’t advertise, but I’m sure in your day to day life you will see more adverts for second hand cars and double glazing than you will see for law firms.

So how do we position ourselves as an expert within our field? First off, here comes the mandatory disclaimer! I’m no expert and am always on the lookout for people who have techniques that I can try. However, I have already learnt a lot about self marketing and positioning to have picked up a few tips that stand me in good stead.

1) You will very rarely find an expert who is anything but wholly confident about the information they are giving. Whether it is derived from their own research, or from learned colleagues/mentors, the majority of experts exude confidence when they communicate with others. So I guess my tip would be BE CONFIDENT when talking to potential clients. Whether this means learning back to front the technical aspects of what you are talking about, or whether through various visualisation techniques and self empowerment methods you become more self confident as a person. The end results will be your clientele will have more respect and assurance  in you and your opinions.

2) Once you are confident in your self and your offering, network. Network like mad! Pick up the phone, go to trade shows, participate in online discussions, go to relevant seminars. The more visibility you give yourselves, the more people will start to recognise you. And if you are constantly doing the rounds  at various shows, the more expertise they assume you have taken in. If you know how to network (and to be honest, I’m still learning…) then this skill is invaluable, as the more influential people you can attract into your mastermind group, the better. This will give you the benefit of having a rich source of knowledge to tap into when you need it most. In some circumstances, this can also act as an accreditation for some clients to validate you by.

3) Never ever stop learning. EVER. It’s all well and good going out to lunch with big executives, but if you do not know what policies have recently been implemented within your industry, or do no know the recent movers and shakers within your vertical, then you will only look out of your depth. This is NOT a good look. Confidence and networking can only take you so far. If you don’t know about the bigger picture, then you need to learn and QUICKLY. And if you’re one of those big executives who think they’ve learned everything there is to learn within their sector, as Jay Abraham so eloquently puts it, “you’re probably losing business and don’t even know it!” In a nutshell, if you think you’ve learnt everything about your product, learn everything about your clients. Or learn everything about your industry. Or learn everything about your competitors. Or learn everything about your governing body. Or learn everything about successful consultants. I cannot stress this point enough.

There are many many more ways in which you can become an expert within your field. I have only highlighted the 3 main ways in that I have used in my industry. Is it working? Only time will tell! However, one thing that I am sure about is that in this downturn, many more consumers will be nervous about parting with their money. If you are able to offer them unbiased, qualified advice, they will be a lot more susceptible to following you and your opinions.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Advertisements

5 Responses to “The year of the experts”


  1. 1 AZMike January 1, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Carlos….

    This is a darn good post and I am glad I got to read it.

    On the “experts”, an important lesson I am learning and have learned is from Robert Ringer who’s title, “Winning Through Intimidation” renamed “To Be or Not to Be Intimidated?: That is the Question” is the lesson of “Ladders and Leapers” which has to do with how society will show us “the ladder” that we are supposed to folllow, “the corporate ladder”, etc. But he talks of how you can “Leap” to higher understanding, better positioning of yourself and skipping “the Ladder program” altogether. One way to skip many rungs of “the ladder” is to invest in someone that has already put in the time, your expert. Earl Nightingale said this of experts, “Anyone investing 1 hour a day for one year in any subject could easily be an expert in one year.” Robert used to/maybe still does allow followers of his newsletter permission to download his revised book, I found it here http://web.archive.org/web/20070115141546/http://www.robertringer.com/TBI/TBI.pdf

    If you have the money to hire a consultant, do it, skip the learning curve. If you have the time an inclination to learn it all yourself, go ahead and do it. If you want to be an expert don’t be intimidated by the gurus’ who will have you believe that “for whatever reason, you just are too ignorant to learn it yourself” that you need “their solution”. Now I’m not talking about consultants here, there is a viable need for them. Gurus’ will sell you the report that sells the better report that willl sell the best report that sells you on buying the next “piece of them… that if you don’t get immediately means you are destined to a life of ignorance and doom.”

    Thanks Carlos.

    Mike Feddersen

  2. 2 AZMike January 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Sorry if this is reposted twice, it failed to appear on my end after hitting the Submit button.

    Carlos….

    This is a darn good post and I am glad I got to read it.

    On the “experts”, an important lesson I am learning and have learned is from Robert Ringer who’s title, “Winning Through Intimidation” renamed “To Be or Not to Be Intimidated?: That is the Question” is the lesson of “Ladders and Leapers” which has to do with how society will show us “the ladder” that we are supposed to folllow, “the corporate ladder”, etc. But he talks of how you can “Leap” to higher understanding, better positioning of yourself and skipping “the Ladder program” altogether. One way to skip many rungs of “the ladder” is to invest in someone that has already put in the time, your expert. Earl Nightingale said this of experts, “Anyone investing 1 hour a day for one year in any subject could easily be an expert in one year.” Robert used to/maybe still does allow followers of his newsletter permission to download his revised book, I found it here http://web.archive.org/web/20070115141546/http://www.robertringer.com/TBI/TBI.pdf

    If you have the money to hire a consultant, do it, skip the learning curve. If you have the time an inclination to learn it all yourself, go ahead and do it. If you want to be an expert don’t be intimidated by the gurus’ who will have you believe that “for whatever reason, you just are too ignorant to learn it yourself” that you need “their solution”. Now I’m not talking about consultants here, there is a viable need for them. Gurus’ will sell you the report that sells the better report that willl sell the best report that sells you on buying the next “piece of them… that if you don’t get immediately means you are destined to a life of ignorance and doom.”

    Thanks Carlos.

    Mike Feddersen

    • 3 carlosdajackal January 3, 2009 at 1:14 am

      Mike, another great comment! Love the comment about the Gurus! I’m coming into contact with a lot of self titled ‘gurus’ in my endeavours with internet marketing in particular. Whilst the majority of them have their own R&D departments and provide unique insight into their techniques, the majority are happy to just build lists through videos using others content and provide reports based on others findings. Maybe I’m being slightly harsh on the industry, as this problem is not only specific to online marketing, and can be found in a number of sectors, both online and offline.

      However I digress. In your comment you touched upon something which I left out purposely as I’m thinking about doing a separate article on the matter. That is hiring a consultant. I would go one step further and suggest to not only hire a consultant or coach, but to surround yourself with consultants and coaches. Both Jay Abraham and Eben Pagan have preached about the importance of having a mastermind group which you can tap into at any given time. It is my opinion that our ability to network with experts will increasingly become important to making us attractive to respective clients.

      Thanks again for your brilliant insight!

  3. 4 Reyn Aria January 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Excellent insight, Carlos.

    I like the three elements of an expert: confidence, network and education. I also agree with your view that many self-claimed ‘gurus’ only do nothing more than republishing other people findings.

    I’d like to add that being an expert does not necessarily mean you have to create a new ideas. An expert is a person with special knowledge or ability who performs skillfully. Hence it is OK to use other people finding, provided that you had already master it and include your personal opinion or additional finding.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reyn Aria

    • 5 carlosdajackal January 9, 2009 at 9:30 am

      Thanks for the comment Reyn. Am not sure if you’re familiar with English currency, but for the last 5 years, we’ve had a £2 coin in circulation. Not exactly inspirational news on it’s own! But if you look on the side of it, there are some inspirational words – “standing on the shoulders of giants”. I interpret that as meaning that whatever we try and do, whatever ideas we try to implement, whatever we try and create, we are not alone as there has inevitably been someone who has thought something similar, and gone someway to implementing their ideas. We do not need to start from zero. Rising from zero to hero can be such a lonely journey. Help yourself by using other ideas as leverage, then put your own unique interpretation to their thoughts to create your own work. And this is the key, to steal their ideas BUT to add your own insight.

      Now I’m not sure whether the person behind the quote meant for his words to be interpreted in that fashion! But I do believe that everything that we try and do in our life, there is inevitably someone who has gone someway to achieving it. And if we use their knowledge to assist us, we will be able to achieve our thoughts and dreams that much quicker.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




My tweet stream

Pages

December 2008
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Blog Stats

  • 4,362 hits

%d bloggers like this: