Going deep with our work is pretty natural for a lot of consultants and advisors.
Typically, we’re fascinated with our craft and it doesn’t take much to get us digging into something we find fascinating.
Research seven different ways to cut taxes for a client. Check.
Interview fifteen experts for a blog post on a narrow subject. Check.
And yet, we don’t instinctively do the same thing when it comes to marketing ourselves.
In fact, we do the exact opposite.
We become so concerned we’ll leave potential clients on the table that we water down what is actually most powerful about our work:
The expertise, relationships and trust that come from devoting significant focus to our niche—our specialty.
Let’s unpack that idea.
Yes, expertise is the price of admission, but it rarely wins you the engagement.
Or, as trust expert Charles Green puts it “Buyers look for rational reasons to justify what is finally an emotional decision, built heavily on trust.”
It’s not enough to be the expert. Even the TOP expert.
Because being the best isn’t enough if your audience doesn’t notice or care.
Which means your job is to discover the ideal intersection between your skills, your passions and a market niche that will pay you what you’re worth (and give you room to grow).
Once you’ve dedicated yourself deeply to a niche, you’re in the perfect position to do what I call spidering: making connections that create a web of mutually beneficial relationships.
Because when you’ve got the right niche, you’ll not only recognize kindred spirits, but might actually create something tangible with that chemistry.
Veteran podcaster (and “Hourly Billing Is Nuts” author) Jonathan Stark kept re-tweeting an article of mine and had suggested me as a guest on a couple of podcasts just on the basis of that one idea.
I tracked him down to invite him for a get-acquainted skype—and our hour spent gleefully comparing points of view on building consulting practices felt like a nanosecond.
A few hours later, he invited me to co-host a new podcast he’d been percolating: “The Business of Authority” . And here we are, 15 episodes later, with a shared asset for our audiences.
Trust—especially on-line—is critical for consultants, even those behind a well-known brand name. Because ultimately, your clients buy YOU.
By devoting yourself to the right niche and consistently, smartly, building your authority, you make it easier for your audience to trust you.
They read, listen to or watch your stories unfold. They learn from you as you graciously share knowledge, time and—most importantly—your interest in their challenges.
It’s hard to trust a generalist.
We’ve become accustomed to getting any specialized service or experience we want delivered to our doorstep and consulting is no different.
Ultimately, you’ll need to niche.
You may make two or three passes at it until you find the right balance of depth and breadth (or you can talk to me about how I can help you do it right the first time).
But do it anyway.
The expertise, relationships and trust you build in the process will never be wasted.