“A leading authority is anyone who has guessed right more than once.” – Frank A. Clark, Born Mar. 28, 1860.
Frank here probably meant it as an admonishment for trusting self-described authorities. But you know me, I never let appropriate context get in the way of making the point I want to make…
If you want to be SEEN as an authority figure in your market, it's a matter of being seen as a good guesser. What you guess about is the future of your market. You're a prediction maker. An oracle.
And these can be reasoned guesses, educated guesses, or even just hunches based on gut feel – (hopefully honed with experience).
Or, hey, even a lucky guess can work.
The thing is, everyone wants to know the future, but no one wants to take a risk on a bet if the outcome is uncertain.
People like us can make those outcomes less uncertain for clients. We can help them make plans. Implement contingencies. Leverage assets. Etc.
If you guess well, clients and customers will make business bets on your advice, and they will pay well for advice that delivers ROI on your predictions.
Here are some sneaky things that will help you be a good guesser in the eyes of your audience.
1. Make predictions about certainties that your client doesn't know are certain. Take credit for the good “guess”. Once they are in your confidence, you can imply that you're not guessing, so much as acting based on secret information… Wink.
2. Make a lot of guesses, with contingencies included. “If the thing happens, you'll see X, but if it doesn't, Y is a strong possibility, because Z.” It sounds like you're being very specific, but in fact you're being very vague and covering a lot of bases.
3. Don't fear guessing wrong. People remember what proves relevant. They tend to quickly forget wrong guesses, and even the frequency or proportion of wrong guesses. They'll remember the hits more than the misses.
4. Parlay good guesses into more work/sales. When one of your predictions comes true, be prepared with a plan of action to leverage it, and be ready to help the the prospect execute on it. Either with information, advice, or service.
Short version: Become a leading authority. Make more guesses. Good ones.