10 Breakthrough Strategies to Increase Sales
Without Cold Calling
The Ultimate Guide to:
“Authority Lead Generation”
Do you want an UNFAIR Advantage?
Do you want to be seen as a valuable and trusted adviser to your ideal prospects and clients?
A real standout?
It is your choice…
Being seen as an AUTHORITY by your prospects is the quickest way to establish KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST (KLT). KLT starts with attention and moves to likability, but trust is the essential component that comes before someone will hire you. Without trust, you will never get selected.
This goes for any business, any market and any service…TRUST is part of every sale that your business will make. Think about the things you buy. You would not buy it without some level of trust that it will serve your needs or desires.
If you plan your marketing strategies wisely, you can position a solid authority platform and at the same time you can enroll new clients.
This works for solo business owners and larger enterprises too. Authority is a foundational element to businesses that differentiates them from others.
Over the years, I have tested, refined and used these very same strategies to build my own business. From speaking on big stages with some of my business idols, to interviewing over 200 experts on my “Leaders in the Trenches” podcast (and everything in between), I have tried and perfected each of these strategies in building my business.
Now, I am fortunate enough to get to work with hundreds of other business owners who are struggling to figure out how to differentiate themselves and achieve authority and expert status just like I was! The best part of this is that as my clients become known as experts in their market, they also see increased lead generation and increased revenue too.
I share this with you so that you know my experience with testing and refining these strategies is based on the real world and not theory. I give you the practical wisdom that you can use in your business immediately. I asked one of my clients what was the main benefit of working with me…
There are 3 absolute truths to being the Authority:
#1 You must have a strong point-of-view (POV).
You must have a clear and compelling stance on issues that matter to your audience. Your POV is a unique and fresh message that your peers do not use. You do not want to say something in the same way as others say it.
Being seen as an authority is not about being liked…it is about being relevant to the problems and solutions of your tribe. Authorities are usually polarizing to an audience so that the message creates a clear divide among those who disagree and those who agree.
And of course, your POV must be seen as valuable to your intended audience.
#2 You must share your POV.
Your job is to get the message out to the people who need and want it. You have many ways to do that…I am going to give you 10 ways to position yourself as an authority. If you keep it to yourself, you do not reach your audience. You have to get their attention so you can start the influence and impact part of your work.
Clients cannot buy from you if they do not know you. Visibility is essential to authority.
Be generous with your wisdom and give with no expectation of receiving something in return.
#3 You cannot be all things to all people.
I know you have heard this before. It is the top phrase/quote mentioned on my podcast with hundreds of guests. Let me say it again, “You cannot be all things to all people.” Casting a broad net to see what happens is a fool’s errand. Authorities are clear in who they are talking to and also clear in who they are not talking to.
These truths lay a foundation for your personal growth and your positioning in your market. This allows you to be THE choice, not just a choice.
Before I share the 10 ways to position yourself as an authority, please be sure to select one or two of these that you want to master. “Mastering” means that you want to be world-class and let it be how the world sees you. You cannot implement every tactic out there in a half-ass way and expect amazing results.
Your job is to pick the right strategies for you and your business. Play to your strengths as much as possible so that you are not frustrated with something that is not in your “wheel house.” It is necessary to understand your target market and even better to understand your profitable niche so that you can reach them.
Do not play the comparison game either. It is easy to look at the influencers in your world and see that they have many of these strategies working for them. You have to look back and see where they started. Do not compare your business to someone who started 10 years before you.
Finally, it does take work to make any of these payoff. You have to hustle and persevere if you want them to have an impact in your business. Some of these take years to master…and it is worth it.
Authorities create valuable content…lots of it.
Power Tip #1:Quality is better than quantity. Do not publish dribble or trivial content. Focus on solving a real problem and back it up with research and actionable insights.
Power Tip #2: Shorter is better. It takes more work to write 800 words than 1200. It takes more planning to get a video to 4 minutes instead of 7 minutes. And it takes considerably more practice to get your speech to 18 minutes (the TED talk standard) than to let it ramble for 45 minutes. Being concise is a mark of an expert who has a deep understanding of the message.
Power Tip #3: Once you create something, remember to promote it to your audience. This is part of sharing it. Authorities are confident in the value of their insights and work, so they love to promote via social channels, email, media, and other ways. Promotion strategies are commonly overlooked, yet they have tremendous value to growing your platform as an authority.
The preamble is done. Now let’s dive into the top strategies to become an authority…
10 Breakthrough Strategies to Increase Sales Without Cold Calling
The Ultimate Guide to Authority Lead Generation
Strategy #1 – Conduct a Deep Research Report
Being an authority is about creating relevant and valuable content. One extremely powerful strategy is a DEEP research report that uncovers new findings. This does not mean you can just do some internet searches…you must go beyond what is easily available. When you interview people first hand you can discover unique insights that allow you to compile all of the research together into something that no one else has, but others want.
You can use the deep research report to publish white papers, speeches, and even a book (when the time is right). You can start small with a handful of people or companies. The quantitative and qualitative research can be used to establish your credibility with those who find this information relevant to their decision making.
The DEEP research here is what will separate you from others in your market. Keep in mind that quality is better than quantity. You can add more value sharing what 12 top companies are doing versus sharing what 50 companies that no one has ever heard of before.
e.g., Many years ago I worked for a strategic consulting firm that had a niched focus on electrical utilities. One of the deep studies I performed was an interview of more than 60 companies and how they handled credit and collections (I know boring, right?). I traveled to England to interview companies that had unique approaches to this problem. I compiled this research and wrote a book from the interviews with summarized findings. The company sold this research to other companies and that led to more consulting work. I became one of the most recognized experts in this one area as a result of this one project. In my next job, I was selected for a project because of this research and it paid extremely well for it too.
Not only will you have a rich piece of content marketing, but you will also establish relationships with all of the decision makers you interview.
One of the reasons I started a podcast is to interview experienced business owners who are leading their teams, leading themselves and leading their markets. I have interviewed more than 200 people in the last two years who have given me insights on speaking, podcasting, writing, sales and leadership. I wanted to interview some well-known business people and also some who you have never heard of too. I wanted to surround the issue of authority and being an authority as my version of the deep survey of success. Having the interviews on a podcast was a choice to create content for my audience and share it with my audience. I also wanted to build my platform and strengthen my network…it worked.
NOTE: You do not have to start a podcast…if you do, you can check out #4 in this document.
Strategy #2 -Be a guest on other podcasts
The podcast medium is a very intimate form of marketing. But I am biased about podcasts because I love to interview experts. Also, I have gotten clients from my show and by being guests on other shows.Your first step is to discover what your ideal prospects are listening to. When you understand your prospects well, you can create a list of podcasts with ease.
One common way to discover which podcast methods they like is the A.S.K. method. You have heard of it before I’m sure. This is very simple but often overlooked. Make a list of prospects and clients that are in your target market and your profitable niche.
Then you just ask.
Getting booked on shows is not hard, but very few people are reaching out with the right strategy. The most important thing to remember when connecting to any podcast host is that it is best to establish a relationship before asking or pitching yourself. This means that your first contact is important. Make it about them and their show. Express gratitude for something they created. Share their shows on social media.
I get dozens of pitch emails every month and I rarely take anyone that just pitches me their book or themselves as valuable to the show. However, I do bring on guests that start with building a relationship when it is a good fit. Let me stress how often this approach is not used.
I bet you’re wondering which “channel” is best for reaching out? Email is very common, but it is crowded too. I would start by listening to one or two episodes at the minimum. If you like the show and believe it would be great for you to be a featured interview on, give the show a rating and review in iTunes and Stitcher. This is a great place to start so that you can share with the host what you liked about the episode or the show in general. Make it specific to demonstrate that you really did listen. Your next move is to share the show via social media. Most shows or hosts have a Twitter presence so you can share the show and include your host in the tweets. I know this takes time…it is above and beyond what most people do. This is what will make you stand out from the others.
When you establish the relationship first, you have a much higher chance of being a guest on the show. I would guess that your chances increase by 1000%…yes, it is that big of a difference.
***If you are already a billionaire, the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, or have been interviewed by Oprah, then you can ignore my previous tips. You can just pitch yourself mentioning those facts.
Note: The biggest shows require you to be up to something big and be seen as an authority before having you on those popular shows.
Do you want more tips and strategies? Do you want to see how you can position yourself as THE authority or thought leader in your market?
Strategy #3 – Write Articles for a Major Publication
Having your POV show up in a major business or industry publication can help you clarify your messaging and amplify your visibility to your prospects and clients.
e.g. Entrepreneur Magazine gets 93 million monthly page views. I am guessing that is more than your blog is getting.Find industry publications where your ideal clients are looking for insights. If you are not a writer, you can always record your thoughts and pay a writer to put them into a written format.Blogging for your own website is good…but the credibility boost for having your articles published by a well-respected brand like Entrepreneur, Inc. or Fortune is hard to match.
Just mentioning that you write for a publication admired by your audience boosts your authority ranking. Once you establish yourself with the publication you can embed links to your website too. This sends traffic directly to you from the massive platforms.
Another benefit to writing your articles for an industry publication is your ability to interview influencers and connect with them to share their work. It is powerful to reach out to influencers in your market to feature them in a popular publication (and much stronger than your blog).
Note: Many of the publications allow you to re-publish your articles on your blog after a waiting period of 5-10 days. They do ask that you give an attribution to that article such as “Previously published in Entrepreneur Magazine.”
I have been writing for Entrepreneur Magazine (my articles are here) for almost a year now and my articles have generated more than 100,000 page views. I also have articles on Huffington Post and soon to be published by Success Magazine.
Strategy #4 Create Your Podcast
Podcasting continues to grow and provides a unique format to content creation and visibility. My podcast “Leaders in the Trenches” has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and my interviews of more than 200 people have reached 139 countries and many other regions of the world.One unique benefit to audio is that most people listen to them when they are away from their computers. This means fewer distractions and more concentration on the message.
There are many styles and formats to a podcast. The most popular type of show is expert-interview based. You can also create a solo show to give insights. There are many decisions you have to make to determine the right show for you. Do not do this alone. Find someone who knows the podcasting medium and get them to discuss it (they love it so they will talk for hours if you let them).
Increasing in popularity are short run shows that have a limited number of episodes to promote a book or product you have. With this format, you do not have to make a multi-year commitment.Starting a podcast seems much harder than it actually is. The only real equipment you need is a quality microphone (My mic is the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone that is sold for about $60)You can get inexpensive software to record on Skype calls (free). You can have your audio editing done by experts for a small fee. Technology has made this part of podcasting so much easier.
Begin by researching your industry and decide how your show will be unique in the market. Being seen as an authority requires you to differentiate from others. Let your creative juices flow here. Look for a gap in the market that you want to serve. Create a podcast that will strategically boost your credibility to your prospects so they can listen to your values and how much you care about them. There are tons of podcasters with very small audiences because they did not have the right guidance in the first place.
Keys to success in podcasting are to look at the long term (not short term) and commit to a regular schedule that works for you. There are many ways to make this platform work for you, but most people do not start with the right strategy. Plan in advance your show theme, the promise of the show, and the launch strategy to increase your chances of success.
Leaders in the Trenches Episode 127 – The System to Produce My Podcast
Strategy #5 – Create Online Training (or Webinars)
Technology is making it easier to share media-rich training with your audience virtually. You can refer to them as online training or webinars as they are essentially the same thing.
This is quite common in the online markets (training, coaching, marketing, information) as people here have seen the influencers and experts in their market teach using webinars for years now. If very few people in your industry are using webinars (or none), look at that as an opportunity to be seen as unique.
There are some major benefits to using webinars like the idea of it being virtual (no travel time to speak on stages) and the ability to continuously do webinars that make “mastering” this medium possible. On top of that, you can create systems with invitations, marketing, emails and even the delivery of training that make it easier over time.
The key is education. You are educating the audience to a new awareness related to your products/services.Make sure you offer training that your audience wants…really wants. Make sure you actually give value so that they want to talk about you in the market. Often people use this platform as an extended commercial to talk about themselves. Do not alienate your prospects like that. They are taking time out of their schedule to learn something, not to hear all about how great you are.
You will still have to get traffic to your training which requires you to combine this strategy with one of the others mentioned here.
Strategy #6 – Give Speeches: Keynotes, Workshops or Breakouts
Some events have big name keynote speakers. As you are working your way up the “ladder” you can still have the opportunity to speak at smaller sessions at the same conference. These are called “breakouts” or sometimes workshops. There are usually other sessions going concurrently, but these can be extremely valuable to build your reputation as an authority. These speeches are meant to be very actionable and content-rich. You want the audience to walk away with new and insightful information they can apply immediately to their business.
The keynote speech is the usually the best scheduled time of the conference and usually to the complete audience. This speech is different in that it is usually more provocative and when done well, adds more entertainment to the program. Most speakers require quite a bit of experience to make the hop to keynotes.All speaking combines two accelerators to your influence and impact…
(A) Proximity– When live and in-person, you have a chance to quickly establish trust. Even in our virtual world, people trust face-to-face more. This is not likely to shift to virtual anytime soon. Being in the same room with the audience has a deeper connection to the message and to the speaker. Also distractions are usually lower in live performances.
(B) Authority – When someone hands you a microphone and allows you to take the stage, the way the audience sees you is different. Yes, you have to deliver valuable content, and you have to do it in a persuasive manner, but this is one of the most powerful ways to position yourself as an authority.
Speaking is also the most powerful way to attracting high quality leads for your business.
I interact with thousands of people who want to start speaking or speak more. If you would rather die than speak, you are not even reading this section. You have already skipped it.
If you are still here, you likely want to know how to find the speaking engagements (called “gigs” for slang).
First, you have to create a focused list of opportunities. “Focus” is the key word. Once you go beyond the speaking for practice and you decide you want to get some clients for your business, you want to make sure you are speaking at events where your ideal prospects are in the room.
e.g. I have a client who develops websites for speakers and coaches. Derek Hart at GettheGigs.com has a better chance to grow his business by speaking to a room full of speakers than he does talking to fellow web designers. This is a focused strategy. Derek has spoken at National Speaker Association meetings and also small events filled with speakers only. Derek has demonstrated his authority and expert experience to this audience and has gotten new clients too.
Second, you want to build relationships with the event organizers, planners, and/or executive directors. Keep in mind: sometimes it is a committee, so the more you know, the better your chances are. The mistake I see most often here is using the “apply to speak” approach. The form or email on the website is one way to apply, but it is also the least likely to actually result in getting booked. Be proactive and reach out.
The best way to get booked is to establish a relationship with the people making the decision. This means emails are part of that reach out, but you also have to pick up the phone.
Check out an article I wrote for Entrepreneur: 3 Tips on How to Get Speaking Gigs
Infographic on 7 Steps to Finding Speaking Gigs
Strategy #7 – Create Your Own Events
I have a special fondness for small, intimate events. I love having 6-12 people in the same room together and feeding off the energy of each other. I have held dozens of these over the last five years. I have clients that have used different versions of small events and they work like magic for them too.
You can have many different types of events to position your leadership and here are just a few of them.
Facilitate an Executive Round Table – Hosting an “executive” roundtable with 6 to 10 of your ideal target clients. It will position you as a leading expert in your field and get you face-to-face with your target clients. Plus, facilitating an in-depth discussion amongst your target clients will give insight into what is keeping them up at night. These are presentation style events. Think of them more as a facilitation event, where you are keeping the conversation on track. Your goal is NOT to sell at this type event…it is to connect others and build relationships. The executive round table events are especially powerful when you are engaging with corporate officers, and it works for others too.Host either
Pre-event & Post-event Workshops – When traveling to events where you are speaking (or just attending), you can host your own “mini” event. You can work with the organizers to offer something unique, beyond what the event has scheduled. Or you can organize it on your own…make sure you do not conflict with the pre-planned events and do not position this as a competitive offer.This type of strategy is not used very often so there are some aspects on the structure of the pre-event and post-event workshops that I cannot include here to keep this document from becoming a full-on book, but I’m happy to share my experience with you. If you have questions sent me an email to [email protected].
Host Lunch and Learns – The small events are quite powerful by getting people to hear you share your strategies and POV. You can host them at a client’s office (you provide lunch for everyone) or you can host them off-site too. If it is better for your market, you can have power breakfast events or even dinner events as well.These small events are usually unpaid by the attendees and you are using it to deepen relationships with the audience. You can make a formal invite to the next step (or your offer if you want) or you can invite the audience to a private conversation with you at a later time.
Host a mastermind event – Mastermind events are a different format than traditional “present & pitch” events. Mastermind events are typically no content events. This means no slides and no formal presentation. At a mastermind event you introduce the ground rules of the event and each attendee is given the time to stand up and share their biggest issue or goal. The attendees are asked to participate in new ideas and suggestions. You can facilitate the mastermind for best positioning for you. You can have these be half-day events, but full-day masterminds are best for giving each person ample time to process their strategies.
Ticket prices for these events are usually between $197 – $297 because of the value of the event. I usually also provide both breakfast and lunch to make it a full experience. It is not huge money maker, but does connect you to the attendees in a way that you have never done before.
Create a multi-day event – Doing two and three-day events are growing in popularity. You can have these events be small (8-12 people), Medium (16-20 people) or large (50 to 1000+ people). If you are thinking of this scenario, there are lots of things to consider (pricing, length, getting sponsors, filling the event, etc.).
Strategy #8 – Get Media Coverage
There is considerable influence in getting media coverage that positions your leadership and authority. You have likely seen the logos on websites showing media. Below are some of the places I have been mentioned or featured.
I refer to these as “authority logos”. This strategy can be “gamed” which means anyone who knows a little about media coverage can get these without real substance behind them. Anyone can get a mention or use of these logos, but authorities want to take care to do it the right way.
Some experts even teach you how to create a book in a weekend with the sole purpose of getting booked on media. They push you to create something to get attention, and it may not have anything to do with your business. Sure you get media coverage and you get to use the logos, but when you peel back layers, you see these are not really positioning strategies.
Let’s discuss a more powerful way to get these logos. To get media coverage, like being quoted in articles that further positions you as a trusted advisor, you must have a solid strategy.
The key is understanding what makes you UNIQUE…and your ability to communicate this to other people. Businesses and brands that get media coverage have a “hook.” Your hook is what makes you stand out and be seen as different.
e.g. A financial advisor who operates his business similarly to all others finds it hard to get media coverage. However, the advisor who creates a program for newly divorced women on all the major decisions they are facing with this transition in life can get coverage by media. The difference is the “hook.” One of these people has a hook and the other doesn’t
Here are two approaches that will help you become an authority to the media…
(A) Build Relationships – Develop relationships with writers, editors, and contributors the right way. See the suggestions I mentioned in #2 about connecting with podcasters. The key is to be genuine sharing their work and appreciate what they are creating. If you go too soon for a request, it comes off as self-serving. One example of how I did this was getting mentioned in Entrepreneur by Andrew Medal. I had Andrew on my podcast to share his business and what he was doing in the world. After the 30 minutes talking about his business for the interview, I ask him “how did he get to be a writer for Entrepreneur?” This lead to him offering to include me in an upcoming piece
(B) Leverage Other Authority Strategies – This approach is on the reactive side of growth, but it does work as you build momentum.
Getting noticed by what you are doing in other areas like speaking and writing. I am always on the hunt for someone who is inspiring and has a unique POV to share with my audience on my podcast. When I speak at events, I’m meeting other authorities and hanging out with them to build relationships. I can remember meeting Chris Brogan (well known in the podcasting and online business world, keynote speaker commanding $15k per speech at times) at an event held by Michael Port (NY Times Best Selling Author). We joked, and we connected over my bowtie that he did not think was right for my brand. After dinner with the other speakers at the event, I asked Chris if he wanted to be my show. Had I not been at the VIP dinner for the speakers, I would have never had the same relationship with Chris.
Another example, I got my first spot on TV (NBC Affiliate station) after I spoke at an event in Reno, NV. They interviewed me about coming so far to speak to local business owners. Being a speaker made that interview possible.
Do not go broadly into the media strategy. Instead, look to the “ladder approach.” Identify the easier-to-get media for you that will show you the ropes and give you confidence that you can make it. Being on FoxNews as the correspondent on a subject may be a big goal of yours; however, look to smaller markets to begin with. Work your way up to the bigger opportunities.
This means do not overlook a proactive media approach where you identify and build relationships with specific editors and reporters covering your space. The key here is proactive.
Being on TV is what most people think about when it comes to media; however, do not overlook the featured article in a publication that is high value to your ideal clients. I wrote this article about a friend of mine who added money to his business.
Why You Cannot Ignore LinkedIn for Authority published in Entrepreneur Magazine about Josh Turner and his business, LinkedSelling.
You can get this kind of coverage if you work the strategy.
Strategy #9 – Use Paid Placements
Social media strategies are everywhere. Yes, social media posting and engaging strategies are great for authority. The reality is it works for people who already have established a community or a tribe. They are already seen as authorities.
Today, we are faced with overload on these social messages. The organic reach on platforms like Facebook is continuing to drop (below 4%). Yes, there are ways to increase this, but the reality is social media is not working like it did before.There is good news here. The organic reach may not be working as well, but the paid side of social media is booming. I know you have to pay for it, but the power of this is huge.Let me share with you an example of using Facebook’s power of paid placements.
Think for a moment about getting a referral from a client. YEAHHH! We love referrals. That client is likely going to look into you by visiting your website. They might click around on a few pages and even watch a video. They are intrigued.Before they even get a chance to meet you, a short video shows up on their Facebook timeline, that gives them another perspective of you. As they watch the video, it addresses a pain they have right now.They are beginning to add to the trust they already have. Now every two or three days between the introduction and the first meeting, your videos show to give them even more touch points with your brand.As they watch these videos, they can visit the website again or just smile knowing that you “get them.” Either way you connected them with your message (aka positioning yourself as an authority)
Ok, that story may sound like crazy stalking kind of stuff, but it is not really anything like that. It is a feature of the Facebook ad platform. It gives you the power to bring visitors back to your message with the frequency and trust (when you do it right); you begin to connect with the prospects at deeper levels.
You can use paid placements in Twitter and Instagram too.
You do need to work with a professional if you want to unlock this power. Testing it on your own is an option, but it can be an expensive and long process. If you need a referral, let me know. I have many experts in my network who do social media marketing.
Strategy #10 – Leverage Influencers
Surrounding yourself with fellow big thinkers will shift your awareness, allow you to forge valuable new relationships, and help you continuously move beyond your comfort zone.
Build relationships with centers of influence: other business owners, companies, and organizations that serve the same target market as you.Educate them on how you can serve their audiences, and learn about how they can help your tribe as well.
Business is not a solo sport. You must master the art of relationships to succeed at influencer strategies.
Remember, anytime I mention “building relationships” in this document it comes with similar strategies. You have to reach out the right way. You have to make it about them first. You have to add value where you can. And you cannot rush the process of trust.
Wow…this is much longer than I intended it to be. Once I got started, I did not want to stop.
I will tell you that this is only the surface-level strategies and tactics. Each one of these has depth to them that require some experience to unlock. I should know, I struggled with these as I applied them to my business.
I even spent thousands of dollars to figure it out with experts and coaches (I even hired the wrong people a few times). I do not want to see you struggle with this in any way.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate emailing me ([email protected]). I do not mind helping you figure out how to apply these strategies nor do I mind helping you decide which is best for you as your NEXT step (remember you cannot do all of them at once).
In addition, if you want to see how I would recommend an expert from my network on the areas outside my zone of genius, then I will connect you to the right person.
ABOUT GENE HAMMETT (Yes, that’s me…)
I help CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs become the authorities in their market and experts to their prospects. I work with them to uncover the hidden areas for growth which are often right in front of them.
I have been a leader for 20+ years. I started and ran multiple million dollar companies. I have succeeded, failed and succeeded again. What I have learned in the process, I can pass along to you so you can have the business you really want.
On my podcast, Leaders in the Trenches, I have interviewed hundreds of leaders and best-selling NY Times best-selling authors. I am honored to have shared the platform with legend, Jack Canfield and been featured in Forbes, NBC, Yahoo!, Inc. Magazine, and Huffington Post.
I write…a lot. I am a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, Success Magazine, and Huffington Post.
I live in Atlanta, Georgia with my wife, Amanda, and our son.
Ready for the Next Steps in your Business
and not sure where to start?
I invite you to reach out to me to talk about your business and sort through the many options you have before you. I offer what I call the “Results Road Map Call” that will help you identify your very next steps. It is not a sales pitch in disguise. I truly want to help you to discover that one next steps that will accelerate your business and your own personal development. I do ask that you be serious about your business and be committed to take action on the #1 next step we discover during that call together.