01 Mar On Becoming an “Expert”
During the past week, Greg Jameson (myself) has done 2 live seminars, 2 virtual webinars, 3 customer presentations, 1 radio interview and 1 speech. The live seminars in fact involved speaking for 2 hours without notes and actively engaging with the participants. Each of these have been very well received, with attendees exclaiming about how much Greg Jameson knows about Internet marketing and building websites. While these comments and reviews are certainly appreciated, it got me to thinking about how anyone becomes truly knowledgeable about a subject in any field.
I spend an average of 10-12 hours per week attending seminars and webinars myself, as well as doing active research. I then test the ideas I’ve learned on my own websites to see what really works and what is the most effective. Finally, I distill this information and apply it to our customers and their specific industry. The results may end up in a new book, a new seminar topic, or just increased sales for our clients.
Some of my readers may know that I am an avid skier. I’ve skied 12 months out of the year and have not missed a season for 40 years. I’ve skied with some of the best in the world, including Phil and Steve Mahre, Billy Kidd, and Wayne Wong. And, I skied competitively on my college ski team. Recently I was skiing with some friends and one of them asked how I could ski so fast. My other friend replied that I had lots of “time in the saddle”. And it’s true that longevity helps to build expertise status – you can’t just start building websites or doing internet marketing and become an expert overnight, anymore than you can with any other field of knowledge.
But what is relevant is how this applies to you. Everyone is, or can be, an expert for their particular niche. For example, I met yesterday with the owner of a tack store (they sell horse equipment, not thumb tacks!). The same principles apply here – don’t just sell something because it is available or because you have a high margin on it; rather, research the equipment that is out there. Find out what makes the best bit for a horse and why. Then test it yourself against the other types of bits that are available and see which one performs the best. It may be that one type of bit works better for one type of situation than another. Repeat this process for many years. Finally, take this knowledge and share it with your customers. They will think you know what you are talking about (and they’ll be right), because you’ve done your homework and are willing to educate them about your your subject matter and how it applies to them.
It takes a lot of work to become knowledgeable about a particular topic. David Meerman Scott, a colleague of mine, explains this well in a recent blog post of his “The Secret to Getting 50,000 Followers on Twitter“. So do your research, become educated, apply this to your profession, then freely educate your customers.