Getting Your Growth On | 5 Minute Read
You’ve probably seen all those long, scrolling sales letters online that seem to scream at you and go on forever. No doubt you’ve been snatched up by the vendor in the mall who wants you to try their product, or the sales clerk in a store who knows just what you want… even if they’ve never met you before.
That doesn’t have to be you. In fact, you’ll be far more successful in the long run and make more sales if you take a completely different approach.
If you hate the idea of “selling,” then you’re already on the right track! Customers are the foundation of your business and selling your products and services to them is the reason your business exists in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel uncomfortable about it.
The art of selling starts with expertise; a demonstrated knowledge by someone who knows more about a particular topic than the audience does. People are looking for answers, and they want it from trusted sources who clearly know what they’re talking about. If you can establish yourself as an expert on specific topics, your products and services will virtually sell themselves.
There are many different ways to demonstrate your expertise, and none of them involves anything "salesy.”
PICK YOUR NICHE
Everything you do in business begins with choosing your niche. Start with something you already know about through your personal experience, your job, or your interests.
If you've had serious, positive relationships in your life, you might choose to become a relationship expert. If you're an avid reader of self-help books, you can take that interest and turn it into an area of expertise. Your job in the security industry gives you insight into security issues most people don't know about.
Look at your areas of knowledge and experience and see if there are particular things that a large group of people don't know about… but are searching for solutions to meet their needs.
FOLLOW YOUR INTERESTS
If you don’t want to focus on an area you already know about, another method of niche selection is to choose a topic you'd like to learn about. It doesn't matter if you're not an expert already. If you're willing to put in the time to learn about it, you can become an authority on that topic. You can become a real expert and share that knowledge with your audience through study, discipline, apprenticeship or on-the-job training.
DEMONSTRATE YOUR EXPERTISE
You can demonstrate your expertise in a variety of ways. The most common and easiest way is by providing content about the topic. Share your knowledge and experience with your readers, and they'll see you as a trusted source of information. As you gain more visibility added testimonials, endorsements and other forms of social proof to your marketing mix will also help.
BRIDGE THE EXPERTISE GAP
The “expertise gap” is the difference between what you know about a particular topic and what your audience knows. In other words, it is what you already know how to do, but others haven’t learned yet. Understanding this is an important part of building your expertise. You have to understand your audience and their level of knowledge about your topic.
For example, if you've lived abroad for 30 years, you're an expat expert. Write your content for people who are just setting off abroad like you were years ago. Or, if you already know how to set up a basic WordPress site, you can teach others how to do the same, even if you’re not an expert in other areas of online marketing.
BUILD A PORTFOLIO
Your bio should say more than just “an avid wine lover.” It needs to show your expert knowledge and experience. A good way to do this is by building a portfolio of work. Publish articles wherever you can and create eBooks to sell in online stores and for Amazon's Kindle. Write guest posts for other blogs. Join professional associations in your niche and participate in their events. Conduct seminars for local groups, or even classes at local colleges. Write press releases for distribution to online and offline publications.
Create a long list of all the things you've done that show you know your topic well. Then use those to construct a detailed bio or “About” page on your website.
GIVE IT TIME
It's impossible to establish your expertise overnight, especially through honest means. It takes time and dedicated effort. You have to learn about your topic, create a great deal of content, build your credentials, and grow an audience base. However, each year that you’re out there teaching about your subject adds tremendously to your reputation as an expert.
Ready to showcase your expertise to the world? Good for you! Here's a quick blueprint to get you started:
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