Setting yourself up as the go-to expert in your field does not happen overnight. You are going to have to take time and do the work to build your reputation effectively. However, if you are strategic and intentional in your approach, you can get there without wasting time and energy trying things that just will not work.
To become the go-to expert in your field you need to focus on what is known as the know, like, trust factor. Quite simply, you need to make sure that first, people know you, then they like you and then they trust you. Once they trust you, not only will you become the go-to expert, but you will be able to convert prospects into clients more effectively.
In this blog, I am going to give you practical tips on how to create the know, like, trust factor effectively in your business.
This blog article is a summary of the related podcast episode.
To support this blog, I recommend downloading my free 3C™ System workbook which provides a roadmap, exercises and templates for developing your marketing strategy. Having a strong marketing strategy and solid foundations for your business will help you consistently attract clients and become an authority in your industry. I will be referencing the workbook resources throughout this blog.
Before we start to look at the know, like, trust factor in detail, it is important that you understand that becoming the go-to expert takes time. Take Brené Brown for example. She’s a researcher and author of books on vulnerability and other social issues. She has helped a lot of people to really live a more intentional and meaningful life. She is someone who has inspired me. You might look at her and wonder how she became a go-to expert on certain topics. But before she became a big name, she worked for years on research and teaching. I don’t want you to feel intimidated by this example! But please understand that whatever your field is, it will take time and consistency to become recognized as an expert.
However, if you focus on a clear and small niche, you can become a go-to expert more quickly. So one the first things you need to do is to work out where your ideal customer is and what industry you want to become the go-to expert for.
Here is what has to happen next, your ideal clients need to go through this process:
- Knowing you
- Liking you
- Trusting you
Marketers call it the “Know, Like and Trust” factor.
1. Know you
Focus on your niche
How do you get people to know you? How can you be strategic about this? To make sure people know you, you need to focus on who your ideal customer is. If you are not sure about this, check out the 3C™ System workbook to help identify them. You want to really focus on a specific and small niche. I know that this is hard for some people. We can all struggle with FOMO or fear of missing out when we focus on a small specific type of customer. But the more you focus, the more effective you will be, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t attract other customers. And the more you grow in your niche, the more you will start to be seen as an expert outside it too!
This is something I have experienced in my own business. I started Tandem Nomads focusing on expat spouses and so I focused my marketing on that niche but it didn’t stop me continuously attracting clients from outside this niche. However, if I’d tried to become a marketing coach for everyone, I would have reached no one. Because I created my brand within this niche, it is now much easier for people outside it to trust me. So, if you feel that FOMO and you’re hesitating to focus on one niche, remember that you will succeed more quickly as a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond!
Explain clearly the problem you solve and the transformation you deliver
For people to know who you are, you also need to be able to explain effectively the problem that your business solves for your ideal clients. This is something that many entrepreneurs struggle with at the start of their business and the earlier you develop your pitch, the better. The key thing about a successful pitch is that it is not about you. It’s about your customer. In fact, all the things you need to know for people to know you are things you need to know about other people. So, once you know who your ideal customer is, you need to be clear about what you do for them and communicate that in a way that really resonates with them. To help you develop your pitch, there is a practical template in the 3C™ System workbook.
Once you can effectively explain the problem you solve, you need to be able to explain what transformation you provide. This is connected to the results that your solution delivers. The better you can express the transformation from problem to solution, the more quickly people will realize what you are good at and how you can help them.
Only once you are clear about who your ideal client is, the problem you solve and the transformation you bring, can you start to look at different ways to gain exposure and visibility for your business. This is where your marketing strategy comes in and where you choose which strategies will give you visibility with your ideal customer e.g. advertising, speaking engagements, media interviews. I have an episode that explains how to use market research to find the ideal marketing strategy for you.
2. Like you
Getting your ideal customer to like you is actually about you liking your customers and knowing them so well that when you talk to them about their challenges and explain your solution, they feel like you are reading their minds! You want them to feel that you understand exactly what they are experiencing.
This is how you start getting people to like you – by embracing their challenges, embracing their language and knowing their pain points.
In fact, you may have started your business because you have experienced exactly what your ideal clients are going through. But as you become an expert in your field, you might lose sight of that experience. There is a temptation to start using the jargon and technical language of your industry instead of language that resonates with your ideal customer. For example, in my case, this would be marketing jargon. I need to be able to share marketing ideas in a way that makes them easy for you to understand and apply to your business rather than trying to impress you with fancy language. We need to speak the language that our ideal customer uses. If you do not do this, you could end up losing your customer instead of them liking you and being able to trust you.
Here is a specific example to help you understand the importance of this. As a marketing expert, I could have called this blog ‘how to create a funnel to convert your leads into sales. This is marketing jargon. Instead, I have tried to use language that you might use when you talk about your own business. You want to be the go-to expert in your field so that customers come to buy from you. It is the same for every industry. Do not try to impress your clients with fancy words, focus on the language they know and can relate to. The more your branding is built on this strong messaging, the more effective you will be in building relationships with your customers.
And here is a quick side note on marketing! A lot of people think that building a brand is about having a nice logo, a beautiful website, great billboards, social media graphics. This is not true. Branding is about your messaging and messaging is about speaking the language of your client.
To be able to speak in a way that resonates with your customers, you have to talk to them.
Run surveys, spend time listening and taking notes of the vocabulary your clients use to talk about their pain points, their desires and anything that they look for when they choose who to work with or what product/service to buy to solve their problem or fulfil their desire. If you would like more practical tips on how to run surveys to help you identify the right language and get your customers to like you, check out this episode:
3. Trust you
Getting your language and messaging right will help get your customers to like you but it’s not enough to build trust. You need to do more.
You get people to trust you when you start offering them value before you even sell to them. The more wins and inspiration you can give someone before you even approach them for a sale, the more they will trust you and be willing to pay to get more value and to really solve their problem. When you do this, there is often a dilemma between free and paid service. This is something you really need to think through because for people to trust you, you need to give them value, but you also need to generate revenue. If you need support to work through this, check out this episode for more details on how to decide what you give for free and what should be paid for:
While this is something that you need to consider, I believe that the more you truly care for your customers, the more you embody your mission statement, the more you embody your values and the reason WHY you do what you do, the more you will see results. Sometimes when you are passionate about helping your clients, it is hard not to keep giving for free, but you need to be strategic about what you offer and find the right balance between building trust through giving value and giving too much away for free.
One practical way that you can give value is your content strategy. I am a huge fan of content strategy because I think it is the best way to showcase your expertise and become the go-to expert through sharing insights, tips and knowledge. However, you do need to be mindful that it is not just sharing knowledge for the sake of it, you need to know your customers’ pain points and make sure your content strategy addresses them. For example, with every podcast episode and blog that I share, my goal is to earn your trust. I want to demonstrate that I know what I am talking about and that I understand the challenges you face in getting visibility for your business. Think about how you can build strategic content to share with your audience so that they can see your expertise or the quality of your product or service. I know that if your business is product-based that this can be challenging but think about how you can share stories about the results your products deliver and inspire trust in that way. The more you can demonstrate the value of your product, the more likely people are to trust you.
Social proof is one great way to demonstrate the value of what you do. Anything that demonstrates the results and transformation that you deliver gives you credibility. Make sure you collect testimonials, case studies, reviews and so on as social proof as a way of building trust. Also, if you are a consultant, ask if you can share the names of the big companies that you work with or if you have been featured in the media, share the links to those features or interviews. All of these are things that can enhance trust.
But here is the final thing I want to share with you about trust. This is the big thing that makes the difference between real professionals and real experts and those who try to be experts and do not succeed – it is consistency. The more consistent you are with your content, the more you will be seen as the expert to go to.
Consistency means showing up on a regular basis with insights and tips that are valuable to your audience.
You need to become a reliable place to go to whenever your ideal customer is thinking about the problem that you are focused on solving for them. Ultimately you want to be so valuable and reliable that your ideal customer starts wondering what you would do in a situation. And then when they become serious about solving their problem, they realize that they need your help to do it! This has happened to me so many times. Clients tell me that they have been listening to the podcast and found themselves wondering what I do when faced with their specific situation. You know you have become the go-to expert when people start asking themselves what you would tell them to do or asking if this is the product that can fix my problem.
By building consistency with your audience, by repeatedly showing up in their social media feed, by being present for them, when they are ready to take action, they will think of you. In addition, by using promotions, special offers or approaching them with an offer, you can get them to say ‘yes’ to you more quickly. When your potential client has already started to like you and to trust you, it is so much easier to convert them into sales and revenue.
Hopefully, I have shown here the value of being the big fish in the small pond by focusing on your niche, getting your audience to know you, then like you and then trust you. What are you doing in your business to create these three steps? Be strategic and build these steps into your business processes and in everything you do, keep asking yourself what you are doing to help your customers to know, like and trust you.
Do not forget that it’s never about you, it is always about knowing and serving your customers – put yourself in your clients’ shoes and center everything you do on them.
If you want to learn more about the practical steps you need to take to create the know, like, trust factor in your business, you can download my 3C™ System workbook which has exercises and templates that will help you implement this.