I was driving recently on a Saturday morning, and happened to catch a show on NPR about how someone earns the status of “expert.” It wasn’t with a business guru, but an anthropology researcher and author. And that short 15-minute segment changed my thought process on how we assess experts.

What does this have to do with our success in sales and business development? Turns out, quite a bit.

We live in a world that’s hyper-focused on likes, follows, shares, and online reviews to assess how well anything is received. Be it a product, a service, a story about your recent family vacation, or the vacation rental home you stayed in. Social proof in the form of likes, follows, and shares guides many a decision-making process.

Those examples tap into two attributes that can influence our decision makers as well, as they assess us as an expert and trusted advisor. Popularity and recency. How we’re assessed today as an expert in our field is not always on the depth of our knowledge and experience, but how recently we’ve been participating in the digital world, and the popularity of our ideas.

If you want to be a true trusted advisor and expert, there are four areas worth cultivating that also speak to both the popularity and recency that’s tugging at our decision makers.

  • The first is investing in developing your expertise. This is about what you’re studying and reading, and how you’re advancing your depth of knowledge. There’s a paradox with expertise that we need to watch out for – being labeled an expert can actually cause one to become close minded. Challenging yourself with new ways of thinking, diverse people, and diverse ideas will enhance your expertise and also your credibility with your prospects and clients.
  • The second is to stay market forward with quality thought leadership. Experts share quality ideas. They aren’t afraid to innovate new approaches, and they often work alongside their clients to do that. Assess yourself on whether you or your organization are creating quality ideas, or a unique viewpoint on ideas in the marketplace that get your decision makers’ attention. Thought leadership can take so many forms: books, eBooks, podcasts, videos, webinars, blog posts, interviews to name a few.
  • The third is to stay market forward with regular sharing and follow-through. It’s one thing to have quality ideas and viewpoints, and it’s another to take action and follow-through with consistently sharing them in the marketplace. Where are those key decision makers and centers of influence most likely to be? Are you there with regularity and consistently?
  • The fourth is to develop your stable of strategic partners. Your network is as valuable as your expertise. We can’t be the expert at everything, and that’s why extending your network is vital to your success. One way to cultivate this network is by combing your current network and reconnecting with key partners. When you’re able to recommend another solid expert to your prospects and clients, you’re immediately elevated. You’ve now just made the life of an overwhelmed decision maker that much easier. You’ll also see that connection returned to you by your strategic partner in the future.

By developing these areas, you’ll amplify your sales growth by both being a trusted advisor, and also being received as a trusted advisor by your prospects and clients.

Did you heart the news? Our signature sales training program, Strategic Selling for Professional Services, is going fully digital this fall! And you can look for an exclusive preview soon.

There are four elements to winning that you need in any sale or engagement: strong intelligence about your customer’s business, identifying and building the right relationships, a compelling proposal for change, and the ability to create commitment. These are the foundational elements of our program, all based around your data and opportunities. Our current program is a blended approach of in-person and digital reinforcement, which will always to be available to you.

For those with smaller sales teams, or those who want a fully digital experience, you’ll now have that option this fall. If you’d like to get on our mailing list to learn more, please fill out our contact form.

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