A few select ways to help you rock your customer’s world
- Practice teaching
- Be vulnerable and humble
- Learn from mistakes
- Get feedback
- Create a minimum viable product (MVP) and test
- Collaborate with a partner
- Stay hungry…keep learning
1. Practice teaching
Find one person who wants to learn what you have to teach and teach them.
Do a version of a seed launch, as taught by Jeff Walker. While ideally you are paid, your initial “students” might pay a reduced fee. Or payment might be in exchange for feedback and a testimonial. Time is a valuable currency, so those are all valid forms of payment.
The seed launch is when you create and teach (even if only a few people) your course staying one step ahead of your audience. Having a live audience will help you, and your customers, grow together. The feedback you get by doing a seed launch will help you refine your product or service.
It will also help flesh out and validate your customer persona. And if you, like me, have any tendency to procrastinate, you’ll now have a solid deadline because someone is waiting to learn from you.
Volunteer to share your knowledge at a local meetup or non-profit. It’s a win-win. You get practice and the audience gets valuable new skills and information.
When it comes time for you to approach another business owner [or individual, if your target audience is consumer oriented]….Everyone else is as scared as you are. No matter how they look on the surface, all business owners walk around with a 100-pound weight of doubt, insecurity, and questions on their backs….So be brave….Your courage will be rewarded.”—Pamela Wilson from Proceed with Confidence
2. Be vulnerable and humble
Let your buyers and readers know where you’re at and what you’re doing. (Me, I’m learning right along with you…right here in this moment…to claim my authority beyond my one-on-one client interactions.) You don’t need to share your every fear or insecurity. Yet be honest, transparent (in a humble way) and when you don’t know an answer—let them know and tell them you’ll find the answer for them. Then head over to your trusted authority and get back to your customer with a solution.
We all learn from someone else who’s got more experience than we do. So be generous—give credit where it’s due. That’s part of being vulnerable and humble and your customers will appreciate that about you. And counter intuitively, your generosity in giving credit to others will increase your authority.
3. Learn from mistakes
We all make mistakes. Even the most authoritative expert you know makes mistakes. Our ability to learn is infinite. When we commit to grow, we’re often at a new edge and mistakes are possible. Even science has not been able to prove everything. Many new discoveries negate prior ones.
So are they really mistakes or are we at the cutting edge of our knowledge? I propose that both are possible and both offer an opportunity to learn. The good news is that when we make mistakes and opt to learn from them, we are deepening our authority.
4. Get feedback
There are many ways to do this. We’ve mentioned a few already. You can also do a survey, if you have enough of an audience. Or borrow an audience by driving traffic to a landing page from targeted paid ads on Facebook, Twitter or, as this young man did, via a search engine.
You can also ask friends—though there are caveats here. Be sure they are friends who are willing to give you honest feedback. And if they are not part of your target customer persona, you need to adjust their feedback accordingly.
Set up and review your Google Analytics. Some of us geek out on data…others, not so much. Yet you can get a lot of information about your actual site visitors and their behavior. If you are using WordPress, there are plugins that make harvesting and understanding the data easier. You can also hire someone to get you started so you can collect and understand the data gathered about your site visitor’s habits and tweak from there.
Send out emails and write blog posts which include an invitation to your readers to engage and share. Ask her to comment on your blog, share with others on social media or to contact you directly. All these options provide valuable information about what your readers and customers find useful. And then you can tweak accordingly.
You have something valuable that will help people.
You owe it to them to offer it in a way that will make them want to try it.
5. Create and test your MVP product or service offer
You can vet your idea by creating a minimum viable product (MVP) or service. That doesn’t mean to make a sloppy product of offer a half-assed service. It means create something meaningful—something of value—yet at a low enough price point and time investment that you can find out if there are enough customers interested in buying what you are selling. Do this first before you spend a lot of time and money creating something no one wants to buy.
Then find a way to get it in front of people you perceive are your ideal customers and test your idea. Be open to tweak or “kill your darling” if it doesn’t get the traction needed to move forward. If you don’t have enough of an audience yet, use a paid service that finds people in your target market to give you feedback.
6. Collaborate with a partner
Form a partnership with someone who can help you learn the ropes and gain confidence. We each have skills that can uplift others. When we let go of thinking we have to learn it all alone, magic can happen. At times, it is hard when we lack confidence to know what we can bring of value to the partnership.
This is a great opportunity to gain confidence. Ask someone to be a part of a team and at the same time, courageously offer your skills into the partnership. You can also ask your potential partner what skills would be of value to them.
7. Stay hungry, keep learning
No one is born an authority.
You become one by being curious and continuing to learn. And continuing to learn some more.
At times, we are forced by life circumstances to learn, yet that learning is rarely the kind that leads you to embody your authority. The kind of hunger we’re talking about here stems from passion and enthusiasm which allows you to share information—to teach—in a way that engages and delights your readers and customers. The actual saying—”stay hungry, stay foolish”—inspires you to innovate and endears you to those who are ready to learn from you.
- Helpful to others
- Open, curious and learn
- Passionate about your topic
- Engaged with your readers and customers
As you move and practice HOPE, you will have the confidence to authentically embody your authority with ease. And ironically, when your authority is HOPE-filled, you can build a sustainable online presence and business because you connect and engage with your readers, (or listeners if you podcast or watchers if you do video) and transform them into repeat customers, fans and even friends.