Let’s face it…in the world of small businesses, it can be rather hard to separate the experts from the wanna-bes. And the peculiar thing of it is, there’s really not any one thing wrong with being in the Wanna Be Camp.
We all know that not every small business owner is an expert in their field. Still, they can build their brand in a way that makes it appear as if they know what they are talking about. Yu see, we all have to start somewhere—and in the world of small business, most people that are just starting out tend to over-inflate how awesome and important they are.
If you play this off the right way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this—even if you aren’t an expert in your field. It all comes in how your brand is delivered to your audience.
The tricky part of it is that the approaches you can take really have a lot less to do with your band itself and how you, as an individual, represent it.
So what can you do to make it appear as though you are an expert in your field? How can you make your potential customers feel secure in bringing their business to you.
The following five steps will give you a great start.
Be Relatable and Sympathetic
Any time you have someone that is either an existing or a potential customer engaged, it’s a good idea to tell them stories about customers you have had in the past that have similar goals, issues, or career paths. Let your audience know how you helped this customer and what their needs were.
Another tactic you can use to make sure they are listening is to retire the same old information they have heard millions of times. Give them something fresh, something unique. Give them something that will blow their minds and have them sharing it around conference room tables for months to come. Look deep within your business—at past clients and goals you have accomplished—and let them in on the largest claim you can undeniably prove. Again, don’t let this come off as bragging. Instead, link to back to how you have helped a client rather than how you helped your business grow.
It’s not just vital for romantic relationships…listening can be one of the most important details in establishing a business relationship, too.
Even after you have established the “lead” in the meeting or conversation, you still need to be an acute listener. You need to hang on the every word of your audience. In all circumstances, the words coming out of your customer’s mouth are the most important things in your world at that moment.
Then, based on what they say and the needs and desires they express, mold your presentation to fit them. More than that, show enthusiasm about what your customer has to say; show them that you have a genuine excitement about working for them and how your product or service can directly influence them.
Also, to be quite frank, your failure to listen attentively is usually found out when you can’t recall the simplest little detail. This often makes you look like an incompetent ass.
The Power of Influence
Of course, as we all know, taking the lead is only the first part. After that, it comes down to how well you are able to influence the people you are trying to convince.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that it is always important to use your time wisely. This does not mean to flood your audience with information. In fact, the opposite is what is going to get you the best results.
As an example, consider the common teenager slang of “TMI!” This means “too much information.” People utter this phrase when they are speaking to someone and are getting overwhelmed with new information. This is obviously something you never want anyone you are speaking with to say.
(It is also a phrase used when someone reveals too much information about their personal lives such as, “So I was I the bathroom…” to which the listener will say “TMI, man!” Don’t be this guy).
In terms of influencing people, your strength should rest on the impact of carefully selected bits of information and not how impressive you think you sound by rattling off stats, stories and figures. When you boil it all down, too much information tends to bore or confuse people. And a bored and/or confused audience is much more likely to say “no” than an audience that has been given the basics and left intrigued and wanting more.
Still, you need to drive home those key factors you have at the ready for your message or presentation. Don’t do this in a way where those listening feel as if they have been beaten over the head, though. Simple repetition of a handful of elements is all it takes to make people remember you. Meanwhile, blatant repetition over and over again will drive them away in droves.
Hang With the Experts
On occasion, you may find yourself speaking with an expert in your industry—someone that perhaps you even look up to and took a few cues form as you made your way up the ladder. Speaking to people like this is a bit different in that they already know about the industry and, quite likely, the product or pitch you have at the ready. In these situations, you need to be able to break out prior knowledge of the industry. Let them know that you, too, could be considered an expert, as you know your industry well. How well? Well, let them know by giving them the finer details of your message.
Also, you need to switch up your approach a bit. When dealing with an expert, they likely already know the benefits and details of whatever it is you are are selling. To tell them what they already know would bore them and make you look ill-prepared. So instead of giving them a list of benefits that you can provide, give them features. What can you and your business (or service or product) give them that your competitors can’t?
Because these people are already experts, there’s a good chance that they will already know damn near everything that you are about to tell them. Given that, you should always take a less-is-more approach. In these situations, the less material that is exchanged, the more likely you are to get a positive response.
Authority and Credibility
What is it about you and your brand that makes you a credible source? What gives you a sense of authority over your competitors? What makes you stand out as a credible expert?
You should be able to answer each of these questions without any hesitation. More than that, you should be able to use these tools to help garner influence among your audience and your industry peers.
So there you have it. You’re now on your way to being an “expert” in more ways than one. We should point out, though, that you could also actually put in the actual time, education, and energy to become an actual expert. This is just to build a solid foundation until it is truly time for you to rule the world.