To grow your firm or practice you need to position yourself as a thought leader. This allows you to stand out from your competition and create sticky relationships that drive revenue. I believe this is especially true in the B2B arena of professional services. It’s a bit of journey to get there so let’s start with what makes a thought leader.

I believe a thought leader is someone who is a true expert … some who has “been there and done that” and has stood the test of time and market fluctuations. Wikipedia says: “A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.” But it can’t stop there. A thought leader is also someone who is willing to share that expertise.

Here are a few steps you might take to become a thought leader:

1. Get clear on who your target market is in very specific terms … I’ve heard it said “the riches are in the niches” and I agree. Unless you have an endless marketing budget, decide on very specific niche markets to position yourself within.

2. Once you are clear on the niche, determine what are the challenges that face that market. Presumably these are the challenges (or questions) that you have already addressed in starting or scaling your business.

3. Share freely of your experience in solving those problems or answering those questions. You’ve heard me say it before: be a go-giver! That includes your expertise. Blog, speak, mentor. Get creative about how you can share your expertise.

4. Don’t sell. A thinly veiled infomercial is just that … a self-promoting plug. You’re not kidding anyone.

5. Stay a student (you’ve heard me say this before too). You cannot remain an expert without continually updating your skills. Read, attend workshops and, here’s a really important one, ask your clients what are their current challenges and triumphs. And, LISTEN!

So much of being a thought leader is tied to prior blog themes: Being a Go-Giver, Servant Leadership, Behavior Goals and more.

The reality is: being a thought leader is not a destination, it’s a journey. I hope to see you on the road.

Stay tuned …

Copyright © 2013 · All Rights Reserved ·