Other than a few exceptions, a specialist will almost always be in greater demand than a generalist. They're able to command higher fees, too. You can specialize in what you do or with whom you do it for.
After specializing for a certain period of time, and/or after deepening your skills and knowledge in your specialty, you are an expert. Perhaps a recognized expert.
But what makes you an authority?
There's a difference between being a specialist, an expert, and an authority.
- The first is defined by what you do.
- The second, by what you know.
- But the third, by who you are.
In addition to her medical license, a cardiothoracic surgeon is a medical doctor who has to undergo post-graduate, discipline-specific training to be certified as a specialist. Simply, a cardiothoracic surgeon is a doctor who specializes in heart surgery.
Because that is what she does.
Now, after gaining much experience performing many surgeries, undergoing more training related to her field, and perhaps even conducting research, she is now an expert.
Because that is what she knows.
If she publishes peer-reviewed articles on the subject and is invited to speak on the topic, she is more than just a recognized expert. She is an authority. What gives her expertise value, or what makes her an authority in her field of expertise, is by how she's recognized and valued for what she does and knows.
She's an authority on heart surgeries.
Because that is who she is.
Authority, defined, is “someone or some entity whose opinion(s) about specific topics are respected and valued by industry peers.” Becoming an authority in any field is not something you define or chase. It's the higher perceived value in your expertise that others place in you. It's something you attract.
Attraction leads to traction.
What makes you attractive to your ideal client is not what you do or know, but who you are. As an authority, what you do or know, whether it's delivered in the form of products, services, content, or contacts, are by extension more attractive.
They will have higher perceived value, too. As a result, you will:
- Sell more
- Sell to more
- Ask for more
- Help more
You will increase repeat and referral sales almost magically. You will attract more clients to your practice, and better clients, too. And you can easily increase your prices. But above all, the people you serve will derive greater benefit from what you sell.
Sure, it will partly be created by the “Halo Effect.” But people who ascribe greater value to what you do and know (and have paid more money for) are more likely to value the help you give them.
They will take what you say more seriously, listen to you more intently, follow your advice more closely, and appreciate the results you provide more profoundly.
Because of who you are.