Remember all the media coverage of the Budget earlier this month? Breakdowns, analyses, responses, criticisms – so many different opinions on everything from individual department budgets to the big ticket items like health funding. Think back to the articles you clipped or shared online with your networks. Chances are they were written by authors with a particular level of knowledge, experience and proven success. In other words, experts.

‘Expert financial planner’. ‘Leading expert in the field of strategic finance’. ‘Award-winning expert wealth adviser’. Sounds good, right? The cachet of being a recognised expert is hard to match. Few attributes, qualifications or certifications are quite as powerful for your career and your practice. To clients, the word ‘expert’ signifies someone trustworthy; a first-choice service provider. To colleagues and competitors, an industry ‘expert’ is someone to look up to and emulate.

Why establish yourself as an expert?

Being recognised as an expert has a variety of benefits for your career and the success of your practice, including:

  • Lead generation / attracting new prospects
  • Attracting particularly discerning clients
  • Building the level of trust necessary to provide high-value products
  • Boosts credibility amongst colleagues and competitors
  • Retaining clients who are proud to have an expert service provider
  • Better brand recognition when it matters
  • Better (invitational) speaking and promotional opportunities

Strategies for building your profile as an expert:

  1. Find your niche

Specialising in a particular product category is a great start, but it’s important to drill down even further.

That could take a variety of different forms, and is driven by your personal interest just as much as market forces. For example, you could specialise in leveraged property investment strategies for inner city young professionals in a certain age bracket. Or, you could specialise in creative insurance options for small family business owners in a certain industry.

Once you have built credibility and a public profile through your specialty, you can begin to branch out in to other areas. However – and this is especially important when you’re just starting out – you can’t be everything to everyone.

  1. Speak with your own voice

Trying to adopt the vernacular and catch-phrases of an existing expert is a sure-fire way to sound inauthentic. To reach people effectively – to have them believe you and want to work with you – you have to sound like a real person. Effectively, you have to be yourself.

Building relationships is a huge part of your business. Clients deal with you because they like you and because you help them achieve good results – not because you’re their only option. You need to capitalise on the fact that clients like and respect you, by using your own voice/humour/style etc. – not somebody else’s.

When you’re preparing an article, speech, blog post, letter or any other publication, think about how you’d speak to a client face to face. How complex would your language be? How would you explain new ideas? How casual or formal would you ? To make sure you’re using your own voice, read the piece aloud. If it sounds silly or not like yourself, that’s a sign it needs editing.

  1. Look for opportunities to prove your expertise

It’s not enough to just say you’re an expert – you have to prove it. But how do you do that before you get a chance to work with a client? Basically, you do it the same way that household names in the financial industry have done. Think:

  • Produce digital content (blogs, guest articles, informative Q&A videos
  • Pitch a story to a financial news editor or reporter
  • Teach a course (look at your local adult education centre)
  • Write a book (self-publishing is a quick and affordable option)
  • Get active on social media – try answering questions that people have asked on Twitter containing relevant hashtags/meta-content
  • Offer a non-salesy, free seminar to your clients and their friends/family
  • Volunteer with a financial education non-profit

Looking for more tips on how to establish yourself as an expert? Stay tuned for upcoming Advant blogs on the role of content in building your profile. And if you have any questions about anything in this blog, feel free to send us an email.