The meaning of the word “expert” in this day and age is so skewed and worn out that tagging it as a job title and charging people an exorbitant fee without adding any value to their careers has become a norm! Don’t you agree with me?
Have you ever wondered how there are hundreds of people from your industry telling you how to do your job properly? Have you noticed how they simply criticise your work and your hard-earned achievements before even listening to your side of the story?
They may take glorious names such as guru, coach, overlord, destroyer, etc., etc. (not that anything is wrong with that!), but exactly how many of such mentors share knowledge and pave a path worthy of following?
Now let me say this upfront – if these “advice-givers” are exactly who they portray themselves to be, there wouldn’t be a major chunk of people coming forward and saying that there’s a flaw in their way of working and they need to fix it at the earliest?
Marketing isn’t far behind
The same holds true in the field of marketing too. We may be heading towards 2018 but marketers are still struggling and organizations are still trying to figure out the best way to leverage marketing. According to the 2017 State of Inbound Research Report, 55% of individual contributors feel their organization’s marketing strategy is not effective.
Moreover, generating traffic and leads (63%), proving the ROI of marketing activities (40%) and securing enough budget (28%) are still major bottlenecks for businesses. Yup – even today! Therefore, when these self-proclaimed “marketing experts” waltz in and try to share a word or two on reducing such issues, it’s troubling.
The problem is the industry is saturated with such professionals. Ironically, it is also in dire need of quality, experienced marketing experts who know their job better than anyone and are not just consulting to make a quick buck or to appear important on LinkedIn.
If you are a marketing expert, you will agree that fiddling with someone’s career through lousy consulting is not appropriate! What you need is something more concrete. Perhaps, try following these four handy tips?
Be the expert – in real
1) Share feedback with actionables
Giving a feedback is easy. But are you simply giving your thoughts or are you also listing down steps that the client should take to remove those issues? Yes – that’s the difference! Take all the time you need before passing off any comment.
Analyze the client’s business. Find out loopholes. Check out competitor brands who may have been in a similar mess as your client. You have to be very strategic while giving feedback because pointing out errors is the easiest thing to do!
I say back it up with all the ammo you got and show that you have come prepared. You client will appreciate your efforts.
2) Listen and recommend solutions accordingly
The beauty of consulting lies in the fact that it is more human. It allows you to build a professional relationship with the client organically. As a consultant, you are free to have a true conversation with the client.
Trust me, this free relay of knowledge only will only make it easier for you to come around with the right solution – something that creates a path to follow!
Your client may have a thousand opinions and ideas, but it is you who has to finally look after the execution side of things. Therefore, you must become a good listener to be able to offer solutions accordingly. Unless you show real interest in the client, this relationship won’t develop.
You can’t be successful as a consultant if you work on your rapport with the client. It’s simple.
3) Share your past experience
Hey – everyone has a story to tell and so do you. So, share an interesting anecdote related to your profession – something that changed the way you worked.
It could be about an interesting ex-client who wasn’t much of a listener but with your tact and patience, you managed him quite efficiently. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a success story. Share your failure tales too. It is fine. At least, that way your new client will be more receptive towards your ideas and suggestions.
4) Give insights, quote examples
See – you have to be practical about what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be like fast-talking Fred that guarantees big sales or a big ROI. Trust me – no consultant should make such flaky promises unless of course, you have a solid example of a similar example pulling it off!
With examples of far and near, you can actually improve credibility. But this also doesn’t mean you start to pass superficial comments. You have to offer insights on the basis of your work and success stories as well. If you keep talking about what an ABC company did, your prospective client will straight head to them for help!
So please ensure, not all of your insights are borrowed.
Over to you
Showcasing yourself as an expert is tough and challenging but also rewarding, if done the right way. The point is this is not a job you can have straight out of college! It is a job you have to earn. You have to work hard to get clients, to assure your income every month and to make do with whatever resources you have in hand.
Try not to be just another fish in the sea. Be of value to be able to add value.
Think you’d like to talk to me about starting up as an expert in your industry?