You can grow your business by showcasing your knowledge. Here are three ways to stand out from the crowd.
Unless you have all the business you can handle, you’re probably interested in raising your company’s profile with the hope that the increased exposure will turn into new sales. That’s reasonable. But, assuming your marketing, advertising and sales efforts are in order, you need to think outside the box to uncover new opportunities. One solution: Make (or declare) yourself an expert.
Really. If you’re running a company you are – by definition – an expert. And you likely know way more about what you do than you even realize.
Here’s how to turn your knowledge base into business growth.
Business expert tactic # 1: Be Heard
Conferences, trade shows, seminars and professional workshops are always looking for qualified speakers to address attendees on issues and ideas important to the industries they serve. You can leverage speaking engagements into a higher profile for you and your company, and ultimately into bigger sales. Here are three things to remember:
Plan ahead. Large events schedule speakers a year in advance. Check the event’s website for application deadlines for speaker slots. If you want to speak at your industry’s biggest event next summer, you should approach the organizer with your proposal by early fall at the latest. And have a backup plan. Contact three or four events with your pitch to increase your chances for success.
Have something relevant to say. That should be obvious, but you’ve probably sat through presentations where it was obvious the speaker was recycling old, dated material and observations. When you pitch the event planner, she will be much more receptive to new opinions about where your industry is headed or how your company is responding to unique challenges.
Tip: Go ahead and say something controversial once in a while. It will make people remember you, and that’s half the battle.
Hang around. Please. Don’t give your talk then make a mad dash for the airport. Make sure people know you’re available for follow-up questions or one-on-ones chats later in the day. If a prospect seems genuinely interested, have your office send him a copy of your talk. If he’s really, really interested and presents a lucrative opportunity for your company, offer to repeat your remarks for his staff on his site. This can be astoundingly effective in moving along the sales process.
Business expert tactic # 2: Get Blogging
Blogs give you and your company an effective connection to your clients and prospects at times when it’s most convenient for them. Blogs work. (You’re reading this, right?) Blogs are non-threatening to the reader, and blogs can set you apart from others in your industry who rely on static websites to communicate with their audiences. A couple points about blogging.
Educate. Providing useful information or commentary to your reader should be the primary goal of your blog. Remember, you’re positioning yourself as an expert. You can sell with the other parts of your website.
Be consistent. Have a good plan in place for making sure blog posts are updated on a regular basis. You’ll be able to get by on enthusiasm and adrenalin for a little while, but longer term you need to have a set schedule that makes clear who is responsible for updating the posts.
Ask for feedback. Arrange your blog so readers can leave comments on what you have written. Acknowledge every response, if possible. And make sure the right person responds. If a reader comments on a highly technical matter, get an engineer to work with you on an answer.
Business expert tactic # 3: Get Coverage
Positioning yourself as an expert for local – or even national – television and radio spots is easier than you think. The keys are:
1.) Let them know you’re available and that you’re an expert on (you fill in the blank).
2.) Find news stories to “anchor” to your possible sound bites. (Example: A freight or logistics expert can comment on the effects of higher gas prices on the regional economy.) When a story breaks (oil prices spike $3 a barrel!) you, or an employee can contact the TV or radio station (ask for the assignment desk) and offer to come in, or invite a crew to come to your site.
3.) Have a press kit available to send over to the media outlets. It should include an updated biography, a recent photograph, a summary of why you’re qualified to comment on certain news stories, and a list of professional affiliations and designations.
A freelance public relations person can prepare the press kit and also make calls to stations on your behalf when a relevant opportunity pops up. This relatively small investment can provide a significant return in a short period of time.
Tip: Never say no! Unless you’re hospitalized or out of the country, don’t turn down interview requests. They may not ask again.
Discover more creative methods of business growth at MP Star Financial:
- Creative Ways to Grow Your Business: Tapping Your Company’s Idle Assets
- Creative Ways to Grow Your Business: Online Advertising
- Creative Ways to Grow Your Business: Job Sharing
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