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.
When it comes to building your authority, some lawyers ask the wrong questions.
One of the most frequent questions I hear from lawyers who are interested to stand out and build their authority (as I strongly recommend every lawyer to do) is:
“Shall I publish a book or start with a series of videos?”
This is absolutely the WRONG question to ask.
Why? Because they are focused on tactics and not strategy.
Many lawyers that I met in the last few years still (arrogantly) assume that they are considered an authority in their field, so clients will beat on their door wanting to work with them.
I do not blame them.
Many years ago I believed the same.
But guess what… no client was beating on my practice door.
So I followed other lawyers’ advice and went to networking events.
But again, I found myself frustrated.
While other professionals left the event with possible clients, I found myself getting nothing.
What did they do, that I did not know?
How can I learn it?
How can I become better?
Many questions were running through my head.
For a while, I tried to imitate the other successful lawyers, by trying to become a better ‘sales’ person….
But that was a mistake.
I learned it the hard way. I was interested in building genuine relationships with other people and not in selling.
In fact, I don't particularly enjoy selling.
So, I knew I needed to find ways of standing out by helping others and giving attention (rather than getting attention), things that I like doing anyway, and by that build my go-to expert position.
So here, based on my personal experience and experience of thousands of other professionals I helped in the last years, are the top 9 Mistakes you should avoid while Building Your Authority.
Hopefully, you'll find them useful and you’ll be able to avoid the same pitfalls I fell into :)
Mistake #1: It is not for me
Whether you own your law firm, are a partner of a large law firm, a junior that started her legal career or somewhere in between, personal branding and building your authority has a place in helping you grow your practice or take your career to the next level.
Building your authority is all about knowing who you are and what makes you unique and distinguished in a crowded market place.
Personal branding is all about marketing and distinguishing yourself -- and showcasing that (offline & online). It’s about taking control of your offline and online exposure to help you achieve your goals.
If you’re a junior lawyer, your goal may be to land a great job or gain acceptance in the law firm you are working at. If you’re a partner in a law firm, then you might be looking to grow your business, earn more clients, or switch your existing relationships to more referrals and results.
Whichever path you’re on, your authority positioning can either make or break you! So, don’t make the mistake of thinking personal branding doesn’t pertain to you.
Mistake #2: I am not interested to be a celebrity
This is a big mistake I used to make and I assume you, dear reader, do the same.
Let’s make it clear - becoming an authority in your field isn’t equal to being a celebrity.
While a celebrity positioning is about self-promotion, gaining a lot of visibility everywhere and fame, building an authority position is the opposite.
Becoming an authority is about focusing on a very defined group of targeted people you want to be known to and become an authority for.
And obviously, you want them to be the ideal clients you’d be interested to work with.
Becoming an authority is about the act of giving genuine attention to this specific group of people and not about constant self-promotion and seeking how to get more attention.
I am sure you can see the difference now.
Mistake #3: I cannot fake it
Building an authority, especially in the professional world, can NOT be based on a weak thought as – “fake it, until you make it”.
To build the right authority, to attract the right people to join your tribe, to be able to help the right people – you need to be authentic.
It is about selectively choosing to share your positive side and share your knowledge and knowhow with the right group of people.
Authenticity is key, for building your authority and personal brand. Don’t make the mistake of pretending to be someone you’re not.
…and by the way there is nobody that can be a better YOU than you, guaranteed!
Mistake #4: I do not know the right tactics
Lots of lawyers who are considered authorities in their respected field have written books. But does writing a book make you an authority?
Lots of lawyers write their own blogs packed with valuable information. But does writing the blog make you an authority?
Lots of lawyers speak on stages or participate in panels in legal and industry events. But does speaking in public make you an authority?
The answer to all these questions is –
Check for yourself – how many books have been written in your field? How many lawyers spoke at events in your field?
How many of those authors who wrote these books or speakers, who spoke on these stages, are seen as authorities in your field?
You see – the tactics themselves will not make you an authority. Your unique experience, your expertise, your distinctive ideas and insights do.
Remark: of course tactics can help boost and share your authority, with no doubt, but tactics by themselves do not build the authority (as some consultants make you, falsely, believe!).
Mistake #5: I need to be an authority now.
By now I trust you understand that building your authority is a process that takes time and consistent actions.
Building and maintaining your authority is about providing people with real value, again and again. It’s about distinguishing yourself from your competition and making yourself top-of-mind and memorable for you tribe, i.e. the people you want to connect and build relationships with.
Building an authority, with no doubt, (significantly) shortens your time to reach success, but it still takes time.
Mistake #6: I am willing to try it once
If that’s what you want, I have sad news for you - It doesn't work like that.
Building Authority is NOT a One-Off Event
You need to accept the fact that authority is built over time.
Of course, some people will see you as an authority in the first interaction with you, after all love at first sight does happen.
But when you build your authority, your grow it overtime.
If you follow me or are part of my inner circle relations list, you know that I share my knowledge offline and online, on a regular basis.
Many times, I get a message from a lawyer who wanted to be mentored by me or wants to find out how he can engage me to mentor a member of his firm.
Now, I am asking you – do you think it is my last email or my last post on LinkedIn, maybe my keynote speaking or one of my videos that made them want to buy?
Of course not…it is all of it together.
Building Authority is NOT a One-Off Event
By adding value again and again and again…and communicating with my tribe, I build and establish myself, on a regular basis, as an authority.
What action did you take to build your authority today?
Mistake #7: I cannot pretend to be her/him
Let me say it loud and clear – you can only build your authority and personal brand on authenticity.
Authenticity is key; so don’t make the mistake of pretending to be someone you’re not.
There is no need to fake it and it actually creates the wrong effect. You will attract the wrong people; you will communicate with the wrong clients and at the end only damage your own personal brand.
There are people in your industry that are looking for a leader and expert they can resonate with and trust.
So you have to be yourself because this is what sets you apart. Be true to yourself, your skills, and your expertise.
Authenticity in business is an invisible, but powerful force when used strategically, especialy in building your authority.
Mistake #8: I am too normal to be an authority
I have always been quoted saying – “successful people are approachable people”.
In the past, leaders were people we could not approach; they always had distance from us.
Nowadays, social media got us to get closer to the people we admire. We actually expect to be closer to the people we look up to.
The same applies when you build your authority. People expect you to be approachable. They want to be able to relate to you. They want to know, first hand, that your experience and expertise is relevant to them and their lives.
The interesting thing is that to be an authority you do not need to be the best-known expert in your field. You only need to be two or three steps ahead of the people you want to help and serve.
Otherwise, if you will not be ‘normal’ like them, they will not trust you. They will believe that you do not understand them. Thus, cannot solve their problems. And as a result they will look for another expert who can help them.
Mistake #9: I can do it by myself
Please do not underestimate the importance of involving other people.
To build your authority you need to get feedback and support from friends, family, or other professional who have already done it.
After all, you're not building your authority for yourself; you're creating an authority in a specific field for other people who need your knowledge and expertise.
So, I assume you agree, that it is very difficult to see yourself clearly from your own perspective.
A good discussion and reflection on your authority building process with someone else can help you see different perspective than the narrative you already hold in your own head.
A little outside perspective goes a long way and can save you a lot of mistakes.
It’s the same reason we pay real estate experts and marriage counselors -- and personal branding experts -- for their advice and perspective.
A way of Life.
These are the top 9 Mistakes your should avoid while Building Your Authority.
As you can see, there is a direct link between all these mistakes: building an authority is not a tactic, it is a way of life.
You want to build your authority, so you can share the best advice you can in your area of expertise.
You want to build your authority, so you can share your ideas and help more people.
You want to build your authority, so you can be found by more people that sincerely need your help.
You cannot fake it. Wanting to help other people has to be part of your life and business goals. Otherwise, being an authority isn't for you.
Want to discover what it really takes to become an authority in your field – and build your roadmap for getting there?
Attend our next free training session on Building your authority position or schedule a strategy call here.
You've got to want to be an authority, not just want what authority brings you.
Is it worth it?
Absolutely. If it's right for you.
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