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Imagine this: a sales conversation with a potential client with minimal objections.
No pushback about your fee. No questions about how long it will take.
Instead, your prospect is excited about the opportunity to work with you.
This is how the sales process often looks for an industry authority.
An industry authority is someone who is perceived as a leader and expert within their industry.
Due to the work they’ve done in the industry, people respect this person’s insight.
They perceive them as an adviser, expert, and leader.
And as you might imagine, the industry authority has a much easier time getting clients.
First things first: if you want to become an industry authority, you must select a specific industry.
“Small businesses” won’t cut it. Get specific.
The more specific you are, the quicker and easier you will be able to become an industry authority.
Big fish, small pond.
By the end of this post, you’ll understand 10 actionable strategies to become an industry authority — so clients look to hire you first.
I get it — you have a little bit of imposter syndrome. You might not think you can even become an industry authority.
Industry authorities — at least the good ones — aren’t know-it-alls. You don’t have to know everything. As an industry authority, it helps to admit what you don’t know.
That’s a healthy mindset.
Focus on adding value to people in your industry. Forget about your “expert status.”
That’s your best medication for treating imposter syndrome.
You won’t have time to think about it. You’ll be too busy serving clients.
As a B2B consultant, your prospects are on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Live is a fantastic marketing medium. In a time where it’s difficult to meet with your clients face-to-face, going live on LinkedIn will put you in front of them.
Pick a current trend or problem in your industry, and write down 5-7 points on it. Add your unique point of view.
Let people know a few days in advance that you’ll be streaming on LinkedIn. Then, go live on LinkedIn and share your talking points. Engage with your audience, share your expertise, and encourage them to ask questions.
Make it industry-focused, and it will feel like you’re speaking at an industry event.
NOTE: You do have to apply to become a LinkedIn Live Broadcaster.
In Andrew Sobel’s new book, It Starts With Clients, he talks about the habits of rainmakers: people who know how to bring in new business.
One of those habits is “being in the flow”: to consistently meet with people in your industry.
Consulting is a relationship business. It’s not just about what you know, it’s who you know.
By being in contact with all types of people in your industry, you’ll open up a world of referral serendipity.
Open up your calendar to 15-minute calls with no agenda. Use a tool like Calendly to make it easy for people to book a call with you. Learn about the people in your industry and what they’re working on.
If you help others get what they want, you’ll get what you want.
I get it — writing is hard. But it is one of the most powerful methods to demonstrate your expertise.
If you want to get into it, start by writing “one-pagers.”
A one-pager is a one-page document where you write your answer to a common industry problem or trend.
It shows your prospects that you understand what they are going through, and that you have insight to add.
If you write a dozen or so of these, you’ll create a marketing asset that positions you as an authority.
Start by writing one.
Pick a problem, issue, or trend.
Write how you would solve or handle it based on your expertise.
Add it to your website — and then share it with your network.
Rinse, and repeat!
Starting The Consulting Success® Podcast has been a game changer for our business. It’ll likely be for yours, too.
If you can speak into your phone or a mic — ask people questions — you can start a podcast. And for many people in your industry, listening is much easier than reading.
Write down a list of 10 industry experts (and your ideal clients that) you’d like to speak to. Reach out to them and see if they’re up for a 30-minute interview. It will be one of the easiest “yeses” you get.
Those conversations are your first 10 episodes. By speaking with the players in your industry — and making those conversations public — listeners will think of you as an authority. Hosting a podcast is one of the best ways to get in their heads.
Do your clients know each other? If not, maybe they should.
Turn your client base into a community — with you at the helm — people can’t help but see you as an industry authority. This practice is known as community building, and it’s quickly gaining steam.
And consultants should get on board too.
There are plenty of different ways to start a community. Start with a virtual roundtable or happy hour.
Identify 10 people in your industry who you know and trust. Bring them together and get them on a Zoom call.
Explain the community that you’d like to build. Do you want to share wins and keep each other motivated? Do you want to foster connections and introduce people to one another? Do you want to encourage people to share what they’re working on and come up with new ideas?
Lead a productive conversation about how you’re all able to add value to each other. The people in your industry will help guide you on what type of community they’d like to be a part of – if you ask and listen. Then you can be the one to build it!
There are very few marketing assets that create as much leverage for you as your consulting website.
But if it’s just a “digital” brochure that’s all about you instead of your clients, forget about it helping you.
A lead-generating consulting website is one that’s focused on your clients. It adds value to their lives. Think articles, case studies, best practices, checklists, processes — share it all.
Give your prospects a window into your mind. Make your consulting website one they bookmark and come back to for help.
Start publishing an article or two every month to your website. Keep your articles focused on industry problems, trends, and common questions. After 6 months or so, you’ll have a healthy amount of content.
And while you do this, promote it:
Turn it into something that markets and sells your services 24/7.
Everyone’s got an email newsletter. Want to really stand out? Send a print newsletter.
A print newsletter is a piece of physical mail you send to your potential or current clients in your industry. There’s something memorable about receiving a physical piece of mail. That’s what makes it so effective.
Select a group of people in your database who you would like to build relationship equity with.
Put together 4 pages — a mix of your content, industry news, a written interview — anything that adds value and insight.
Give it a name related to your industry. Find a print designer on Fiverr or Upwork and send it.
By sending out a print newsletter a few times a year — and branding it for your industry — you’ll stand out as a thought-leader in your space.
Don’t keep your content for yourself. Write an article for other people’s websites in your industry. They already have the exact audience you’re looking for. And you can tap into it by writing for them and speaking on their podcasts.
Not only will this put you directly in front of your ideal clients and industry peers — but it will create backlinks for your consulting website. This will make your website rank higher in Google.
And to top it off, with the outreach you’ll do to land guest posts, you’ll build relationships with key players. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Find a website in your industry with a blog or podcast. Pitch them on an article idea or having you on their podcast.
Demonstrate how your expertise will be valuable for their audience, and many of them will say yes.
Having a book under your name is an incredible credibility-boosting opportunity. And it’s never been easier to write, publish, and sell a book.
Here’s how you self-publish your first book in 12 weeks. First, write the outline. After reading the book, it should help your client get a result. Make each chapter a step towards achieving that result.
Second, commit to 250 words a day. After 6 days, you’ll have 1500 words. That’s a chapter of your book.
Do this for 12 weeks, and you’ll have a complete book with 12 chapters.
Third, self-publish your book using Kindle direct publishing. It takes less than 5 minutes.
Fourth, tell everyone you know that you’ve published a book. Don’t be shy about it: writing a book is a big deal.
Make sure that your prospects know you’re an author — and that they will get a sample of your expertise by reading your book .
Remember: You’re not writing your book to generate quick revenue. You’re writing it so that prospects perceive you as an industry authority. A book is the best business card you’ll ever have.
You don’t need to do all of these to become an industry authority.
Start with a single one.
Choose a method that aligns with your strengths — and is something you would enjoy doing.
But no matter what you choose, make it a habit.
Becoming an industry authority is a long-term strategy that takes consistency. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
But once people start to perceive you as the go-to expert, you’ll be in a position to take your consulting business to new heights.
Michael Zipursky is the CEO of Consulting Success® and Coach to Consultants. He has advised organizations like Financial Times, Dow Jones, RBC, and helped Panasonic launch new products into global markets, but more importantly, he’s helped over 400 consultants from around the world in over 75 industries add 6 and 7 figures to their annual revenues. Over 35,000 consultants read his weekly consulting newsletter. Michael is also the author of the Amazon Best Sellers ACT NOW: How successful consultants thrive during chaos and uncertainty, The Elite Consulting Mind and Consulting Success®, the book.
About the author
Michael has advised leaders and organizations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East, consulting in more than thirty industries, from service providers to billion-dollar multi-national corporations, including Panasonic, Dow Jones, Financial Times, Royal Bank, and many others. Michael is an in-demand speaker, giving keynotes and leading workshops for the Certified Management Consultants Association, Canadian Internet Marketing Conference, Social Media Camp, and more.
His work has appeared in MarketingProfs, Huffington Post, Financial Times, FOX Business, Maclean’s, HR Executive, Business Edge, Marketing Magazine, and several other media outlets and publications. He is the author of five books including Profitable Relations: How to Dramatically Increase Your Profits by Giving Customers What They Really Want, The Consulting Success System: How to Become a Successful Consultant, and The Masters of Consulting Interviews. Michael has been a featured consulting expert on podcasts such as Conscious Millionaire, Unstoppable CEO, Daily Grind, Duct Tape Marketing, and Freelance Transformation. More than anything, Michael loves spending time with his wife and two daughters.
You can follow him on Twitter (@MichaelZipursky) and LinkedIn (Michael Zipursky).