NVTC is inviting members and industry experts to serve as guest bloggers, sharing insights and information on trends or business issues relevant to other members. This week, Elizabeth Harr of member company Hinge shares how individuals with expertise and influence draw in others to want to work with them and their firms.
Stars: they’re big, they’re bright, and their gravitational pull is impossible to ignore. The same is true for industry stars in the technology space. Individuals with expertise and influence draw in others to want to work with them and their firms. Consider Visible ExpertsSM — industry innovators and thought leaders, business gurus that shape their professional field with their influence and insight. These superstars are lead-generating machines.
New research reveals how Visible Experts become known – and how their expertise generates leads for their technology firms for which they work. Hinge interviewed 1,030 professional services firms and 130 Visible Experts to find out just how these industry stars accelerate growth for their firms.
But first, let’s look at exactly how a Visible Expert is defined. Like stars, Visible Experts come in different types and sizes. The research breaks them out into 5 distinct levels:
- Resident Expert. Expertise comes before stardom. Work hard within your firm to distinguish yourself as the go-to guy or gal in your area.
- Local Hero. You’re branching out, innovating and creating the content that will ignite your stardom.
- Rising Star. Your expertise is becoming evident in your industry. You’re making ripples and your firm begins reaping some solid rewards.
- Industry Rock Star. Your expertise is well known in your industry. Your content—books, blogs, articles—are must-haves and are considered indispensible in the business world.
- Global Superstar. You command big audiences and higher rates for your services. You’re a leader in your industry and you’re even known outside of it. To be connected to you is a privilege and you’ve got your pick of potential partners and clients.
Each category comes with different challenges and benefits. But not all leads will drift uninvited into your network, especially if you’re still making your way to Visible Expert status. Here are five ways that Visible Experts encourage leads, grow their own reputations and that of their firms:
- Creating content. With the exception of reality TV stars, no one is known for nothing. Producing content shows who you are, what you know, and what you can do for your clients.
- Speaking engagements. The only thing better than quality content is presenting that content in person. Get seen, get heard, and get noticed. Speaking engagements let you present your insights in person, answer questions, and get to know your prospects’ issues better. Clients want to connect with Visible Experts for exactly this reason—that you’re a person who can help them understand complex ideas. And as you continue higher on the Visible Expert path, you gain more benefits from these engagements.
- Networking. As with speaking engagements, networking events reveal the person behind the content. An active networking presence illustrates your generosity and a deep commitment to your field of expertise.
- Search engine marketing. SEO is crucial to visibility. You might be the preeminent expert in your industry, but clients outside your field might not know that. Make sure you show up in their search results. SEO optimized content drives those curious prospects to your ideas and your website.
- Focusing on target markets. Visible Experts reach stardom faster and easier by zeroing in on specific audiences and markets. Research the clients that your ideas, innovations, and services will benefit the most and target them. This kind of focus will yield before ROI and help you grow your reputation and your firm faster.
So lead generation gets easier as you climb the Visible Expert ladder—even better, it gets easier to close new business. This, along with the ability to charge higher hourly rates, increases revenue and helps your entire firm grow.
Elizabeth Harr is a partner at Hinge, a marketing and branding firm for professional services. Elizabeth is an accomplished entrepreneur and experienced executive with a background in strategic planning, brand building, and communications. She is the coauthor of The Visible Expert, Inside the Buyer’s Brain, How Buyers Buy: Technology Services Edition and Online Marketing for Professional Services: Technology Services Edition.