Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thinkers Thrive

Sales gurus call the ultimate customer relationship that of "trusted advisor."

But what is a trusted advisor?

"A trusted advisor is an expert, someone who brings you a new idea or teaches you something she has learned about your industry," Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, told members of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington at last night's annual meeting.

If you're not your customers' trusted advisor, you'll inevitably have to compete on price alone, Clifton said. 

And inevitably go broke in the process.

Of course, you can stay off the radar and earn the trusted advisor label by dint of hard work.

Or you can use a little marketing to help you by cementing your stance as a "thought leader."

Becoming a thought leader is a six-step process, says blogger Maddy Osman.

1. Follow and comment on news in your niche

Make connections that will alert you to breaking news, then toss in your two cents. "Finding ways to make industry connections will help your company move from news consumer to news creator," Osman says.

2. Be disagreeable

Thought leaders find ""the sweet spot between saying something that not everyone will agree with, and completely stirring the pot with a controversial opinion."

3. Be nice

Be generous with praise and thanks for those who engage with and support you.

4. Hunt for exposure

Seek and jump on every opportunity to collaborate on a content marketing project.

5. Be charitable

Except for perhaps an email address, don't ask people for anything in return for your thoughts.

6. Get out and speak

Speak at and sponsor key industry conferences, and never refuse speaking opportunities at smaller events.
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