Don’t be Modest, Be an Expert!

In working with small and solo business owners I find that they often hesitate to define themselves as experts. Many believe that to be considered an expert in their field they must know absolutely everything about their industry. Wow, that’s a lofty challenge! Pushing yourself to know it all is a losing proposition for anyone.  This “I-must-know-everything” belief will prevent you from accessing your market share and growing your business to meet your goals. Your market wants an expert – and you are missing the boat if you don’t claim your space!  

Everyone’s an expert at something, right? There’s a barista at my local coffee shop who is an expert at trivia. If you have a question about some obscure event, person, or thing, Peter will have the answer for you. I have a friend who is an expert in understanding and selling motorcycles. He can talk about the mechanics, the history, style, performance, and popularity of any bike on the planet. We all have an area of interest in which we know a little bit more than the average person. And most of us have a “go-to-person” within our circle of friends, family, and peers for many of the questions that come into our lives.

But what happens when we have to look outside of our circle for expert advice and services? It’s difficult to know where to turn and who to choose – unless an expert stands out from the rest.

Have you ever, for instance, looked for a web designer, coach or copywriter for your business? If you do a Google search, pages upon pages of them will come up - but who do you choose? If you’re a musician in search of a web designer, wouldn’t you prefer someone who has provided websites to other musicians? You would probably want someone whose design would capture the essence of your music and who could offer you examples of how they’ve done that for others in the past, right? I spoke with a chiropractor the other day who would only consider a copywriter who has worked with many other chiropractors. She felt that such a writer would “know the chiropractic lingo” and be more highly qualified to provide an effective product. She was looking for an expert in her industry.

So what exactly is an expert and why is it important that you position yourself as one in your marketing approach? Let’s begin with the word; ex-pert [n., v. ek-spurt; adj. ek-spurt, ik-spurt] Wikipedia defines an expert as “a person with extensive knowledge or ability in a particular area of study.” The definition goes on to say, “an expert can be, by virtue of training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person.”

The key words here are, “beyond that of the average person.” If you find yourself hesitating to put yourself out there with confidence and a strong marketing message, I'd like to suggest a little adjustment to your thinking. This should give you the confidence to change your limiting belief about your expertise. Simply ask yourself if you have specific knowledge in your field that is “beyond that of the average person.” Most of us could honestly answer yes. There is always someone who knows more than the next person about specifics in any given field, but if you know more than the average person, you are, by definition, an expert. Is there more to learn? Always. But if you want to grow your business, choose a niche within your field and begin to market yourself as an expert in that niche. Soon you will discover that people are seeking you out.  You will continue to learn, and as you do so, your expertise will grow and even more people will seek you out. Once YOU believe in your own expertise, others will believe as well!