Ready to become the sought-after expert your clients will want to work with and be willing to pay a premium to do so? Do you want to know how you are unique to your clients & how you can stand out in the sea of competitors? Are you the "best kept secret in your market?” If you want to know the shortcuts to build your personal brand and become the go-to expert and the authority in your field, DO NOT MISS this series by advocate Itzik Amiel, bestselling author and international speaker and the global authority on personal branding for professionals.
As an introvert myself (yes, I am an introvert, to those of you that did not know), the idea of not being a “noisy leader” has always appealed to me.
I was never a fan of other professionals who seemed to be led by the ego and only engage with self-promotions.
However, early on in my legal career, and especially because I dealt with international and cross-border matters, I realized that if no one else in the industry actually knows about my work, my accomplishments and how I can help them, those accomplishments won’t really count for much. In other words, the maximum achievement I will ever get is to be the “best kept secret of my market”.
Can you relate?
It was a shocking discovery but at the same time an awakening call.
Up until that point, I’d always presumed that my legal work would speak for itself. I assumed that if I worked hard, the quality and impact would be obvious.
Unfortunately, in my legal mentoring practice I meet many lawyers that still think this way.
Great strategy, just one problem…
The online world.
The Internet brought the big competitors to the professional arena.
How do you stand out in a crowded market place, is one of the biggest obstacles lawyers (and other service professionals) face nowadays. As I discovered, and share with you in this special series, the only real way to escape is to elevate yourself and get above the crowd.
You’ve got to become THE authority, the GO-TO Expert that your market turns to.
But in order to build the RIGHT authority with authentic ‘ingredients’ I want in this part of the series to share with you, dear reader, the ‘recipe’ for creating your authority positioning.
I will explain each essential ingredient, but it
is your job to implement it within your practice.
“So, let’s start”
1. Claim it
For every lawyer I work with I advise that this is always the starting point. The decision to do it. You, and nobody else, should make the decision and claim your authority.
Yes, as I mentioned in the previous part of this series – authority is claimed, not given. So decide and claim it.
So, you probably asking how can I claim it?
I am NOT proposing that you will ‘fake it until you make it’. Absolutely not! I assume, as I work with and mentor many lawyers from all ovr the world, and almost all of them have enough knowledge and expertise. So you as well can be definitely be considered as an expert in something. So claim it for yourself.
[If you do not agree it applies to you, just send me an email and I will show you how].
I trust you understand, that without claiming your authority, nobody else will, since it is YOUR specific authority that belongs only to you (due to your specific background, education, experiences etc.)
Furthermore, claiming the authority is only the first step in creating the authority position that will attract better (and the right) clients and higher fees.
2. Share it.
Now, when you are aware of your expertise it is time to share it with others.
You, as a lawyer, have very clear and specific ideas about how you should practice your legal practice. Right?
So why are keeping it as a secret?
It is your time to share it. Share it with your connections, clients, prospects, partners, colleagues and the public. Share with them your unique way to practice your area of law and why you are doing it that way, your way.
We will discuss the relevant tools to help you sharing in one of our upcoming articles.
3. Grow into it.
I guess part of you already starts doubting yourself. You are probably saying to yourself:
“I do not dare to claim my authority”
“Who am I to claim my authority”
“There are much better lawyers than me.”
“Me? Authority? I am lying to myself!”
Do not worry, you are not alone. Almost any lawyer (or even any professional) I helped to build her or his authority thinks this way.
Claiming your authority, publicly, indeed takes confidence. But as you probably know, confidence is a developed capability. The way to do it is out of the scope of this column but I can assure it can be done with a few daily simple practices.
Now to the practical essential ingredients for building your authority:
4. Name it. Every Authority has her or his names for specific things they do. These are names they gave to the services/ products they deliver to their clients. So do you.
Why are you asking?
Because naming the things you do for your clients and potential clients, help to create your authority position and help you describe they way you add value to your client.
Not to forget the side effect – it will also be easier for your clients to share it forward.
Here are some examples:
Einstein's relativity theory™
Dr. Atkins diet™
The Six Sigma™
Those of you who work with me or are members of my global professional community THE SWITCH HUB® know that I name each one of my processes and services. So when I refer to it in my teachings, my tribe knows exactly what I am talking about.
Here are some examples from my practice:
The Reverse Referral Process™
The Power Conversation™ process.
The Authority Formula™
By naming your product, you differentiate yourself and avoid your offering will be seen as a commodity service or product.
Golden tip: When your connections start using your naming to describe what they want to accomplish, you know you’ve established authority in the market.
5. Sell it.
I assume, that you as a lawyer feel more comfortable with delivering your legal services than selling them. Right? Most lawyers do not feel comfortable with sales. After all we went to law school to study to become a lawyer and not a sales person.
But if I told you, that if you build your authority you actually attract clients much easier, since the ‘sales’ process is based on selling your authority.
Let me explain it in a different way.
When you build your authority your actually build your special selling process for your practice. This process has 4 parts:
Part #1: Preliminary process - Knowledge sharing - by sharing your knowledge, your potential clients can educate themselves on the issues, the possible solution and the obstacles they may face.
Part #2: Connection moments – these are special moments you can create to connect with your prospects, give them your attention and give them a good compelling reason to proceed with your help and services.
Thus, you are not considered to be annoying, pushy or sales-y.
Part #3: Selection – you have the right and you need to learn to select your clients. You know that you cannot serve everybody. You also know that there are some prospects that just aren’t a fit for you.
So, go for your ideal clients. Those who will be happy to work with you and you’ll enjoy serving.
I guarantee you that in this way your whole process will get easier, more authentic and less time (and definitely energy) consuming.
Part #4: The Elimination process – Let me ask you a question: let’s assume you are not desparate and have abundance of opportunities. Do you want to serve any client that comes your way or do you want to search for the perfect-fit clients?
I assume your answer is obvious.
Remember: If you build a real system (based on authority) to attract great clients, you’ll have an abundance of opportunities.
So, you need to set up a mechanism to filter and eliminate the wrong clients. There are many ways to achieve it (scarcity; payment for first meeting; only by application etc.) you need to choose one.
Great prospects will gladly go over this small bump, and you’ll have the experience of only engaging and building relationships with the right, interested potential clients and avoiding the rest.
Trust me, when you follow these 4 parts of your authority based selling process, your business life will be so much more joyful and you will get to work with the right motivated clients.
6. Prove it.
Trying to build your authority through words is useless.
Even a lawyer with perfect communication skills can't hope to build her or his authority through speeches and arguments alone.
If you're going to build your authority in your field, you need to speak through your actions, or at the very least have the actions and history to back up whatever the authority you’re claiming.
Working hard consistently and getting consistently good results shows people that you're able to walk the walk. Demonstrating your ideas through real examples is the next step in the process of building your authority and maybe one of the main essences of it. Instead of arguing about how your process will work in theory, put it to the test. Prove it instead of saying it.
7. Give it by…
In my best selling book “The Attention Switch”, I argue that the first and one of the most important ingredients to build an authority is – giving attention. It is not a secret that we tend to give attention to the people who show up in our lives constantly and consistently.
You can do it too.
By sharing value with your tribe, your potential clients and connections on a consistent basis you build your authority. And the opposite is also true. When you share valuable information we assume you have authority.
8. Save it. I trust you agree, that if you meet potential clients whenever they want, it does not show that you care but actually that you are desperate. In other words, you are harming your authority position.
I am not trying to suggest that you should pretend that you are busy. Not at all.
Instead, learn to control your availability by using a calendar. This is the best way to protect your time and at the same time communicate that your time is valuable to you.
This (real) scarcity created by using your calendar helps you to build your authority position (and at the same time save you time!).
9. Protect it.
Protect your priorities.
As a lawyer, one of your biggest obstacles for building your authority in your field is not being clear about your priorities.
I noticed some lawyers that due to lack of prioritization got into commitments that destroyed their authority positioning.
To remind you – one of your priorities should be building your authority, and you must protect this priority so nothing gets in its way. Otherwise you will not take the action you need to take to achieve your authority positioning.
10. Associate it.
Jim Rohn is the one who said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Or put another way, your support system is paramount. Achieving success is much easier when you are surrounded by the right people.
The same is true while building your authority.
Learn to associate with other well-regarded authorities in your field. Not only will it accelerate your authority building, elevate your positioning, it will also broaden your horizons and give you better chances to be involved in bigger opportunities.
Whether you want it or not, I know now that this is how it works.
Be Intentional About it.
That’s it. These are the 10 essential ingredients to create your ‘yummy’ authority ‘cake’.
Gone are the days when building an authority was only for celebrities or executives.
But you need to be intentional about the process, to make it your reality.
Want to organize your thinking and understand in more details how to apply each of these ingredients? Attend our next free training session on Building your authority position or schedule a strategy call here.
While building your authority and standing out in a market place there are still many questions left unanswered – What are the tools that can help build your authority? How can building your Authority will help you accelerate getting more referrals to your practice? What things you should aware of, not to repeat mistakes?
I will answer these and more in the upcoming parts of this special series.
If you have any specific question with regards to building your authority position and your personal brand, please send us an e-mail and share it with us. I may include it in one of the upcoming articles.
Until next month, keep STANDING OUT!
About the Author
Itzik Amiel is considered the global leading authority on Business Development, Business Networking & Personal Branding. He is a sought-after international speaker, trainer, business mentor, & attorney-at-law. He is also the bestselling author of “The Attention Switch” & Founder of THE SWITCH®, the global community for professionals to grow their practice.
Itzik teaches Lawyers and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field and to SWITCH their relations to Referrals+Revenue+Results.
If you want to get in touch with Itzik and to learn how can you build your Authority in your field, you can book a free discovery session with Itzik HERE