Many of us would like to be viewed as an authority, but it's not something we've ever been taught to be.
Director Robert Rodriguez once said, "Changing the game is a mindset."
He's absolutely right. The first step to changing your "game" and elevating yourself to authority status in your industry can be as simple as changing your mindset.
Have you ever wondered why some business leaders seem to have more credibility than others?
It's not magic. They've simply figured out why authority status is given to some people -- and it's not for reasons you might think.
It's not because they're the smartest, most educated in their field or the best at what they do. And it's certainly not because they call themselves the expert, guru or authority.
Think about fitness legend, Richard Simmons.
Do you really think he's the smartest or most educated person in fitness and nutrition? No. Is he the absolutely best person in the world at getting people into shape? Not likely. Does he constantly call himself a "guru?" Absolutely not.
He does, however, do one thing better than just about anyone in any industry -- and that is the main reason for his decades of success.
His business focus has never been about "I want to sell more stuff." Instead, it's always been about "I am an educator and advocate for the success of my customers." When you position yourself in this way, it eliminates the buyer/seller positioning.
Let's talk about this in greater detail.
I Am An Educator
Richard Simmons creates daily updated content for his followers. He has a "Daily Message" on his website, newsletter, YouTube channel, Twitter and Facebook page.
That's the media he uses to communicate with his prospects, but what kind of information is he sharing?
Well, he doesn't try to prove how smart he is by sharing complicated information about how food reacts chemically inside the body. Instead, he finds out what problems his customers are experiencing and then educates them as to how they can solve those problems.
You can do the same thing. Give your prospects information which can help them solve their problems. Focus on one problem at a time and keep it simple.
For example, if you are a CPA, you could do a blog post explaining how to use a free iPhone app to track all your business lunch receipts.
When you offer helpful information that is easy to apply, people will start to trust you and respect your knowledge and expertise.
This is how you start to build your authority.
Remember, people usually go online to search for solutions to a problem. Make sure you're the one who's providing those solutions.
People will want to share your helpful information and recommend you to their friends and family. Now, you're becoming the expert they will listen to.
I Am An Advocate For The Success Of My Customers
Richard Simmons excels at this strategy.
His TV shows and infomercials are filled with images of him hugging and crying with those morbidly obese people who he is trying to help. He is showing the world that he cares deeply about his customers and truly wants them to succeed.
Richard is also an advocate in the fight against childhood obesity, and he supports a bill mandating non-competitive physical education in public schools as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. Once again, he is showing his commitment to the problems his core audience cares about.
How can you be an advocate for your customers' success ... without crying on national TV?
You want to explore your customers' major issues, and show that you truly care about their success in solving those issues.
For example, if you're an online marketing consultant to small businesses, a major issue might be difficulty understanding constantly changing technology.
A "non-authority" way of addressing this would be to show how smart you are by telling how everything works and how they can use it. The problem is you are missing a chance to connect as an advocate and show that you are committed to and care about their success.
A better way is to invite them to a Q&A webinar or perhaps provide a low-cost workshop to explain this latest technology and answer any questions. The key is to do something that shows you are looking out for them and have their best interests at heart.
Make this mindset shift. Find out what concerns your prospects. Provide the solutions to those problems. Show you care and help them succeed.
That's how you get to be the "educator and advocate for the success of your customers."
And that, my friends, is how you will be viewed as an authority.