Many prospects seek out the expert in their area to help solve their problems, that much you know. But how can somebody define themselves as an expert? There are many reactions I’ve heard since Heather and I wrote the The Go-To Expert. One common one is that marketing yourself as an expert seems to mean you’re a bit too full of yourself (polite version). Therein lies a problem, being the The Go-To Expert is good for business, but calling yourself expert might not be?

But, can you call yourself the expert? What’s the difference between an expert and the The Go-To Expert? “Go-To” implies that people come to you, simply proclaiming your expertise might not mean that. Which do you want to be marketing yourself as?

Where is your focus?

When trying to become the expert many people focus on skills development and what they think is important to clients.  Then, having achieved a level they think relevant they start marketing themselves as expert.
In this example, their focus has been internal:

  • ‘Their skills development’
  • ‘What they think is important to clients’

You could argue its semantics, and subtlety, but it’s an important point.

You can’t proclaim yourself the expert.

Although skill development is very important it doesn’t mean you become the The Go-To Expert. You may well become incredibly proficient, but not the The Go-To Expert.

A focus on what your clients, potential clients and sector want is the only way to be the The Go-To Expert in your sector. Even then you cant claim to be the expert.

It’s down to your audience to define you as the The Go-To Expert. Your focus has to be relentlessly client facing, in terms of support, skills, and everything else. Marketing yourself and your personal brand in terms of what clients say is how others are going to find you.

So, I think the difference between an expert and the The Go-To Expert is about people approaching you and that’s all about client focus. A relentless client focus helps you really understand their world, their problems, benchmark them against others in the sector. Most importantly only client focus makes others approach you.

If you were seeking an expert to help you, what would you look for? How would you adapt that to think about marketing yourself?

Jon BakerWritten by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.