The Importance Of Proof In Growing Your Authority
When it comes to growing your authority (which done wisely also grows your consulting business), it pays not to underestimate the power of proof.
That is, proving that your ideas, your point of view, your solutions will work consistently for the target audience you serve.
Because the more proof you present in ways your ideal audience values, the harder it is to ignore your voice. And the faster you’ll climb toward becoming THE authority in your space.
There are multiple varieties of proof that you can use to build your authority.
Metrics. Whether you’re increasing inventory turn by 20%, bringing a product to market 2x faster or training customer service reps in half the time, using specific stats allows your potential clients to apply your results to their situation.
When you can show that your transformations impact metrics that clients care about, it becomes exquisitely clear that you deserve a seat at their table. (It also sets the stage for value pricing, which can accelerate your revenue growth).
If you think your services aren’t resulting in measurable outcomes, then you haven’t dug deep enough to find them. What’s different in the day-to-day lives of your clients after you’ve worked your magic?
Even if you’re providing extra-pair-of-hands services, there is still a benefit to your client. Less stress? Higher confidence that work will be done on time, on-budget and right the first time?
Look for ways to quantify—to offer proof of—those things your clients value most. Because the more you build metric mentions into your content and your marketing and selling, the easier it becomes for your audience to buy into your authority.
Relationships. I think of this differently than purely social proof (see below). This is deeper and more substantial, which therefore makes any recommendations even more trusted.
This type of proof is when those you are or have been in relationship with talk one-to-one about you and your work.
They might refer someone to your content—an article you wrote, your blog, your podcast—or directly to you or your website to learn more about how they might hire you or buy your stuff.
Website testimonials are a variation on this. Showing satisfied clients (photos please) with direct quotes about their outcomes is a tried and true way to build relationship proof. The more your testimonials focus on the unique attributes of working with you, the more powerfully they’ll work for you.
Your audience will pick up on cues from your testimonials. They will often pour over them, asking themselves: “Do you have the outcomes I want working with people like me?”
Social. There are unlimited ways to show social proof—the key is to choose those that have the most sway with your ideal clients and audience.
A significant number of Twitter followers is a huge draw to media looking for an authority to quote. But if your clients don’t look for you there or don’t give a hoot about your Twitter status, do you invest in building proof there? Probably only when you’re ready to spend time leveraging media vs. pulling in clients.
Investing in purely social proof may not be how you start building a consulting business, but it can be how you scale one.
Because here’s the thing: we’ve come to the point where relationship or social proof is required for someone to buy you. It’s simply far too easy to find multiple other alternatives that already have proof attached.
Savvy clients and buyers don’t take more risks than they have to and they definitely don’t choose the entirely unknown when making a big decision. Give them the proof they crave.