Advertiser or Expert?

trade_showI’ve been preaching the “expert first” idea for a long time, so excuse me if I’m repeating myself.

If a client’s first impression of you was:

a) reading your article in an industry mag
b) seeing a print ad for your business which do you think would have more impact?

I vote for “a”.

If a client’s first impression of you was:

a) seeing you speak at the convention or
b) meeting you at your trade show booth….

which do you think would have more impact?

I vote for “a”.

If a client receives a piece of mail from you:

a) an article that was written by you
b) a copy of your one sheet…

which do you think would have more impact?

Again, I vote “a”.

Whenever you have a choice to position as an expert, take it.

If they throw in a trade show booth as part of your payment, then be there for an “autograph session” after your speech. Be there as an expert, not a sales person.

Position, position, position.

Comments welcome below….

PS:  Club Update:  Club Quick Start for new speakers is now full.  However, I have added another cycle of Club Catapult for seasoned speakers, for details…

  • I like your logic here Jane, but I am going to quibble with the second example. Meeting you at a trade show vs. Seeing you speak at the convention. You voted for the former as a better example of representing yourself as “an expert”. I don’t think this is the case for all speakers. I think you can express yourself as an expert much better through the content of your presentation. Having a booth at a convention is fine, if you are signing books or CDs after your keynote. But to have a trade show booth as a speaker, in my humble opinion, is way more indicative of representing yourself as “an advertiser”.

    Of course, all of these examples are contextual, and I appreciate that.

    Once again, you have come out with a piece that makes me go “hmmmm”!

    That’s what I love about you.

    Cheers, Nick

    • Thanks for paying attention Nick! That was a boo boo. I’ve corrected it now.

  • Jane, this is a terrific concise list of some great marketing strategies. Really made me think. Had to disagree with you on the third way (speaking vs booth) until you explained it at the end. Makes a lot of sense.

    Also, I had forgotten about the idea to get into a magazine. Putting that up there on my list. Thank you!


  • Hey Jane – this is absolutely bang on. I’m on the phone with customers and bureau agents all day…senior execs are looking for speakers/consultants/trainers who provide definitive ROI solutions. The purse strings are tight but the money’s still there…execs are just not opening the strings unless they’re convinced the speaker has solutions. So positioning yourself as an expert is absolutely critical to the vitality of any speaker’s business today:)- xxo

  • I must say I agree with Nick. I’m new to this blog and I am trying to get more paid speaking gigs. I’ve done a lot of speaking for my industry, both at conferences and for private events at industry firms. I’ve also authored two books. I’m wondering how important you think it is to write and how good a foundation books are for either launching speaking aspects of careers or for ramping them up. Speaking is not my primary business but it is an important part and I would like to increase the number of paid speaking slots on my calendar.

    Kind regards to all,


  • I think you’ve amde an error:

    If a client’s first impression of you was:

    a) meeting you at your trade show booth or
    b) seeing you speak at the convention….

    which do you think would have more impact?

    I vote for “a”.

    I would vote for “b”

    • You are correct, it was an error, the corrected version is in the post above.

  • I have been reading your posts for a while Jane and wanted to share how much help you have been to me in my speaking career. This “Advertiser or Expert?” post is an excellent example.

    Thank you.

    Be Progress.

    Dean Lindsay
    Author of The Progress Challenge and Cracking the Networking CODE

  • When I first learned that you were preparing a blog on “are you and advertiser or an expert?” I laughed. This was two fold a) occasionally I have fear of becoming an advertiser – forgetting to dig deep into my own stuff (my own niche) in a meaningful way. Some months I am not on top of the latest research as I should be and have removed myself away from the trenches (where most of my stories come from) for too long. Literally I am regurgitating the same “advertisement” I have been using for the past year – when there are NEW announcements to make.

    I also laughed because b) I have heard many “advertisements.” I have walked out on advertisers, I have laughed at advertisers, but I have also bought from advertisers….disappointment more often than not followed.

    Thanks Jane for your monthly subtle albeit kick in the butt.

  • Great observation Jane. It is so easy to get caught up into being a salesman, instead of focusing on your brand as an expert. I truly believe that, (And I read this in your book) your presentation is your best marketing tool. If your a great speaker and make an impact in peoples lives, the less you will have to worry about sales. There are so many speakers out there, and I believe there is a small percentage that fall into the category of GREAT.

  • Great points! Advertising alone doesn’t work because it is too easy for people to ignore the clutter. Being paid to speak is the best advertisement of all. And not only does it not cost or feel like advertising, but you make money as well.FYI, I loved your book.