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.

Are you our next author?

Learn More