Why thought leadership can lead you out of the doldrums

Thought leadership is a term that is often discussed but is rarely understood. After all being a thought leader is quite logical to building a trusted relationship with your client base but there is often a feeling that thought leadership can result in giving away valuable intellectual property.

How do you strike a happy medium where information shared brings more value to you and your client and brings your client closer to you? Any why should you invest what little time you have in working on becoming a thought leader?

First of all thought leadership is based on what you already do. Thought leadership is about capturing the things that you do well on an every day basis and sharing them in a way that inspires your clients to do likewise. Before you say, but nothing I do is different - stop and think. There must be something unique about the way you go about your daily business and your customers would start buying from somebody else. Sit down and think about, write it down and expand upon it. This is the beginning of a thought leadership strategy because you are capturing what has made you a leader in whatever field you are in and sharing it with those that matter.

Thought leadership and customer education inspires trust: Building trust is critical to the success of any business relationship. Trust builds confidence, which builds meaningful relationships, not just transactional engagement. Customers that become more knowledgeable through the efforts of the organisation exhibit higher loyalty scores, place greater value on the services and ultimately build a relationship greater than the sum of its parts.

Trusted advisers & thought leaders are more likely to get the sale: Thought leadership marketing help organisations position their business development and sales personnel in the position of trusted adviser throughout the lead nurturing process by:

  • Making your potential buyers more familiar with who you are and what you do.
  • Delivering the impression that you are leaders and experts in your respective field.
  • Illustrating that your company, and thus, your salespeople, understand and can specifically address the unique needs of the prospect.
  • Allowing buyers ample time to get to know you.

David Maister's well respected book - "The Trusted Adviser" further discusses how to best position yourself as a trusted adviser and is well worth investing in a few hours to read it thoroughly.  

Thought leadership attracts the clients who are in it for the long term: As opposed to targeting customers that buy on price thought leadership targets customers who see value in the whole solution. Furthermore thought leadership, executed well, positions you and your company as a solution provider not just a widget seller. Positioning you well away from a transactional relationship empowers you have to conversations as a partner giving you true access to business decision makers.

Having outlined the case, thought leadership marketing is not for every company. A commitment to your customers, your market and raising the bar on your industry are critical, and not every organisation has the passion or even the bandwidth to pursue such a strategy.  But executed well a thought leadership strategy can build the right kind of relationships with your client base - that of a trusted partner and not just a supplier. Provided you have the skills to see it through, it is a strategy well worth pursuing.

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