Steps to Networking – Step 36: Declare your expertise

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 7th, 2010

STEP 36: Declare your expertise

Tell others about your expertise and why it’s so special. Find ways to promote yourself by writing articles; giving talks; giving demonstrations; starting Web sites, joining groups and participating in conferences, workshops and discussions. Volunteer your service to build your reputation and impress people who may be in a position to help you.

Write or talk about tasks that you’ve performed a thousand times: how to write a press release, how to barbeque fish or how to care for tropical fish. Teach others, step by step, how to do it.

• Write articles. Prepare two written versions: one 1,500 words and the other 800 words. Be ready to recite them on short notice
• Always have copies of both articles on hand to distribute
• Keep your articles simple and don’t try to state everything you know. Cover no more than seven points, no less than three
• Make your articles practical, not theoretical: How to Write A Movie Review, Five Easy Steps to Weight Loss or How to Make Seamless Welds That Last.

Send your articles to publications, organizations, Web sites in your field or related fields and to your network. Follow up with e-mails or phone calls. Offer yourself as an expert speaker. Recite your article aloud as speeches. Prepare visual aids such as slides, illustrations and charts. Practice them on your family and friends.

At the end of articles, include your bio and state who you are, what you do, how you can be reached and your message. Prepare a more extensive bio that can be distributed during your speaking engagements.

Testimonials

Reap greater rewards from your accomplishments by obtaining testimonials and endorsements. Business expert Mitch Axelrod maintains that, “Word of mouth is still your best advertising. Most people don’t take full advantage of the word of mouth benefits they can get from their clients. The most powerful marketing tool is not what you say, but what others say about you. So get testimonials and endorsements from your customers and clients. People pay attention to them. They are the highest, most specific and deepest praise you can get.”

• Ask each of your clients/customers for a letter of praise.
• Ask them to state how great your work was and how much they enjoyed working with you. You’ll be surprised how highly they praise you and how well they express it.
• Ask for endorsements as soon as the projects are complete
• Ask your clients/customers to write your testimonials on their stationary and tell them to hold them to two or three paragraphs
• Ask each client/customer to give call or give you the names of three friends or associates who may be interested in you product or services. Ask if you can use their name, and better yet, if they would be willing to call or write their friends recommending you or introduce you to them in person
• Accumulate endorsements, build your own personal collection; they’re invaluable for getting business
• Explain to clients/customers that you plan to post the testimonials on your newsletter, Web sight and promotional materials
• Point out to your clients/customers how their testimonials could help them by increasing their visibility
• If clients hesitate, offer to prepare drafts for their editing and approval
• Update Web sites regularly to add recent testimonials and to remove those that are dated. However, run a few old testimonials because they show that you have a long track record of customer satisfaction
• Carry copies of your testimonials and endorsements whenever you might have a chance to get new business.

Letters to the editor

Show your expertise in letters to editors and by posting comments in Web chat rooms. If you want to get involved in your community, letters to editors will make you name, positions and expertise know. Well-reasoned articles and comments will also help you build a following, promote your name recognition and build your stature and extend your network.

People like to deal with the best. It builds their confidence because they believe it improves their chances for success. Being associated with the best is prestigious and gives your contacts something to crow about. Our world is star struck and celebrity driven. How many times have you heard friends say, “Guess, who I just saw?” And then they proudly reel off the name of some celebrity who they passed on the street. Those who are considered the best or stars in their fields can charge more so and there is greater demand for their products and services.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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