The Expert Status Halo
The following is an excerpt concerning the “expert status halo” from Dan Kennedy’s foreword of Lead the Field, authored by ForbesBooks CEO Adam Witty, which you can purchase here.
If you are wandering about in the forest, you will probably recognize a bear if you encounter one. You know bears are big, furry, black or brown, with snouts, and so on. You’ve seen photos. You’ve seen them on TV and in movies. Similarly, you know how to spot a dreaded salesperson in the woods. He has lots of brochures, maybe a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop, and other sales matter. He usually assaults you and tries to get you to an appointment by various stratagems. In his cubicle or office, there are plaques and trophies proclaiming his sales prowess. Like bears, these sales creatures are to be feared and avoided.
Although I have been a salesman virtually every day of my life, I have gone to great pains not to be perceived as one. Beginning very early in my career to the present, I have implemented an overall marketing strategy to elevate my authority in the minds of my clientele so that I am not perceived as a salesman. Rather, my business comes to me because money follows and flows to authority.
For me, the journey toward this authority status began when I first published The Ultimate Sales Letter in 1981—a book that has been on bookstore shelves without interruption ever since. It established me as an expert in the craftsmanship of letters that sell. It directly brought me clients, but much more importantly, it elevated my status above other copywriters. People wanted to hear from and get assistance from “the guy who wrote the book” about sales letters, and it is not accidental that the preemptive word “the” is in that title.
I have since written more than thirty books with seven different publishing companies and have gone to considerable effort to effectively implement an ongoing marketing strategy around them, keeping them in print and distribution using the authority conveyed by being the author of each book and of an entire series of books to every possible advantage.
Back when I flew commercial—I now travel by private jet—and when I was still on the hunt for clients and business, I always had copies of my books in my carry-on. In 1985, I was in first-class, on a flight from Phoenix to Houston, and the fellow next to me struck up the usual conversation. He identified himself as owner of a Houston-based advertising agency and asked what I did. Instead of an answer or “elevator speech,” I stood up, got a copy of The Ultimate Sales Letter book, handed it to him, and excused myself for a trip to the bathroom. Two weeks later, I was conducting a nicely compensated training session for his staff copywriters, where he proudly told them, “Today, I have brought you the man who wrote the book on sales letter writing.”
Clients acquire status by having a leading expert working for them. Typically, when prospective clients come to me as a referral, they report that the referring client either told them about one of my books and urged them to get it and read it, or gifted them one of my books. This is what I call the “expert status halo.” People are proud of their association with an expert, be that the number-one expert on home decorating in Abilene or the number-one expert on direct-response marketing and copywriting in the world (me).
ForbesBooks was founded in the notion that shrewd professionals ought to cultivate their own “expert status” by writing a book, so as to dominate in their field. Not only does the firm help business leaders like you formulate and draft your own authoritative book in your field, à la Dan Kennedy’s Ultimate Sales Letter, you are also offered a comprehensive marketing plan to build your Authority, Celebrity, and expert-status.
The selection process for ForbesBooks authors is rigorous, with only exemplary and distinguished professionals chosen to publish under the imprint. If you think you may be the next author to publish with ForbesBooks, apply soon.