You’re a talented, but relatively unheard of artist who has created a stunning painting. You now have to sell it without anyone ever seeing it. All you can do is describe how beautiful it is to potential buyers.
How would you do it? Pretty tricky huh.
Yet this is what so many business owners attempt to do with their marketing.
They have a skill or service that they offer, they get great feedback from the people who have experienced it, but then they feel like they have to “sell” it and themselves to their audience, using persuasive copy and/or gimmicky sales tricks.
No wonder most people struggle with marketing. Both those doing the marketing and those being marketed to!
What I teach my 1:1 Clients and Mastermind participants is how to demonstrate their expertise without feeling like they have to sell themselves.
What an almighty relief that would be, right!?
If you know that you’ve got a great service to sell, but the idea of trying to describe why it’s worth buying makes you want to stick pins in your eye, then this letter is for you.
Below you’ll find 5 simple and authentic ways to demonstrate your expertise without ever having to feel like you are being a sleazy salesperson.
1. Create and distribute high value content
I know you’ve heard this one before, but it does bear repeating because not all content created is equal.
What I’m suggesting here is that you be intentional about creating content that demonstrates your expertise. How? Consider the nuggets of wisdom, practical strategies, top tips and ideas you share with your paying clients and then package those in the form of content for your audience (and would-be clients). The way I do this is to make notes on my content schedule after virtually every coaching session I have.
Without exception, there will be a concept, strategy or several that come to light within each and every one of my coaching sessions. An idea that I’ll walk my client through that can be put into practice in his/her business to ensure further business growth.
In one such recent session, the subject of doing Facebook Live Q+As (more on that below) came up as a way to demonstrate expertise which gave me the idea for this whole article.
So next time you’re short on ideas for content, consider your last client session or call. What advice did you give that could be packaged as a blog post or article and go write that.
2. Offer free sessions/samples of your work
Allowing someone to directly experience your skill or service is the best way I know to sell it. There is no need to describe the benefits of working with you if you can give someone a direct experience of working with you. I do this by offering complimentary coaching sessions — and if you are a coach too, you can read more about the benefits of doing the same in your business here.
If you’re a teacher you might offer a free class, or if you’re a website designer, a free website review. Think of your local yoga studio who lets you drop in to your first class for free so that you can assess whether or not the stye of teaching is for you.
The key to making this work for you in terms of demonstrating expertise is to deliver whatever you give for free with the same level of professionalism and care as you would for a paying client.
So many business owners save the best of themselves for the paying client, when in fact, if you are generous with your gifts and they truly help your audience, it will naturally leave them wanting more.
3. Host free workshops
This works under the same premise as a free session but allows you to reach more people in one hit. Instead of 10 x 1 hour complimentary coaching sessions, you can host an informative and valuable 1 hour group call that could reach 100 people or more!
Of course the impact of attending a one hour group call maybe lower than the impact of an hour of dedicated 1:1 attention but you can still use free workshops to demonstrate your expertise by teaching your knowledge to the very people who need it the most.
One piece of advice I would give here is to avoid the word “webinar” here as it has become synonymous with being sold to. I would also avoid any hard selling on a call of this nature as the purpose is not to sell something but to demonstrate your expertise and be of value to your community. If the call is powerful enough, you can bet they will head to your website straight after to see how they can get more from you.
Don’t underestimate the trust that can be cultivated when you don’t sell on on a call like this. People are so used to the sales pitch that it’s both disarming and delightful when there isn’t one.
4. Hold Live Office hours/Q+A sessions
This was the idea that sparked this whole piece. A client of mine, who has a great deal of expertise in healing PCOS was looking to create more interaction with her growing audience and I suggested that she hold live Q+A sessions on her Facebook page. She already has a raft of questions that she’s been asked in the past so, while it takes her audience a while to warm up and start showing up to ask questions in real time, she can just do Facebook Lives where she answers the questions she’s already been asked.
The trick is to set a time to show up live and then publicise that time with your audience so that they know to show up and watch along in real time. If you are earlier on in your business and haven’t yet had any questions from your audience or former clients, consider what questions you might get or even those questions you yourself had before you gained the expertise you now have and take the time on a Facebook live to answer those.
The key here is to position yourself as an authority in your field, without trying to sell yourself and at the same time being generous and providing genuine value to your people.
5. Invite Clients to leave reviews + testimonials
No one can speak to your expertise better than other people. Having strong testimonials and reviews is essential when it comes to verifying your expertise to potential clients. You can rave about your qualifications and skills all you want on your website, but if you don’t have other people sharing about the impact of their work with you, then you’re missing a trick.
Something I like to do on a fairly regular basis is to ask people who have worked with me, either as a paying client or on a gift basis, to leave a review on my Facebook page. I make sure to only ask those people who have told me directly that our work together made a positive difference to them. The reason I ask people to leave it on my Facebook page is because once there I can share it in different places on social media and also repurpose for other places like my website.
So there you have it 5 non-icky ways to demonstrate your expertise to your audience.
It’s important to speak to a fear that sometimes comes up in people when I talk about giving away our expertise for free. Someone recently shared with me that she was thrown when a potential client asked her why he should pay for her 1:1 services when she gives so much of her process away on her blog. And she’s not alone, many business owners worry that people will take their free content and never buy.
But here’s the thing. A significant proportion of your audience will never buy. In fact the vast majority won’t. That’s just numbers. But those who want 1:1 support (your ideal clients — because the people who think they can do it without you aren’t) will pay you for it, if they truly believe you can help them.
I never hold back in my free content out of fear that you wouldn’t hire me as your coach because when you hire a coach, you’re not just paying for information, your paying for customised feedback, advice and support for your specific situation, accountability to implement, guidance, troubleshooting, hand holding and dedicated 1:1 attention.
No blog post or free session could ever replace a long-term 1:1 coaching relationship and the people who don’t get that, aren’t my ideal clients.
I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve shared here, if it resonates please let me know by clapping over on the left or by leaving me a comment below.
If you’d like to read more from me like this directly in your inbox, you can head here to subscribe to my Soulful Strategies Weekly.