How to Become An Expert In Your Industry In 6 Months
Ken: Hey, everyone, Ken Courtright here. Welcome back to Today’s Growth/Growing Business Today. I am Ken Courtright, your tour guide. This episode we are going to be handing out and explaining guide maps that can be used to grow any business at any time. Last episode we were talking about reading the customer’s mind. How would you know what new product to come out with? How do you know when it’s time to even shift industries, let alone maybe change jobs? We covered a couple of different tools, free tools from Google, that can be used to literally read your customer’s mind and tell you what you should come out with next. This episode we’re going to take it a step further.
We’re going to pretend that we came up with a new product, we went into a new industry; but, let’s just say we went into a new industry, but we’re not 100% confident that we’re the expert we need to be to excel, or let’s pretend that we’re an expert, and we know we’re an expert, but the world doesn’t truly know we are an expert. We’re not really charging the right amount of money, or at least the money we feel we’re worth. This episode is called Rookie to Expert in 6 Months. It is dedicated and devoted to helping people go from a rookie to an expert in a very short period of time. The reason this is uber critical is today’s new currency, especially online, is credibility. People are getting paid today, not because of how good they are, or their degree, or how advanced their knowledge is; there are so many great people, very sharp, loaded and filled to the gills with incidence proportion, but nobody knows it. Their website is literally ho-hum: Home, About Us, Frequently Asked Questions, Products and Services, Pricing and Promotion, and the world can’t even get past the home page to dig into who’s really behind these companies, who’s really selling these incredible products, these incredible services. It’s a downright shame, because to me, and I spent a few months last year talking about this at length,
The greatest business question of our time is “is it better to have credibility or the appearance of credibility?”
I think the greatest business question of our time … This is a business question related specifically to generating revenue … Is, is it better to have credibility or the appearance of credibility? I want to let that sink in for a second. Is it better to have credibility? Is it better to have a PhD, to have incredible knowledge and understanding, mentoring under dozens of people for 30 years, or is it better to maybe even be 23, 24, 25, but have a web presence, and a social presence, and a LinkedIn profile that gives the appearance that you absolutely know your stuff and you are trustworthy and credible? I’m here to say that not only am I sure that the answer is, “It’s much better to have the appearance of credibility” … We have physically proved it through some of our 600-and-some-odd revenue-generating websites. I’m going to cover why this is critical and how to go about making sure whether you are a person of true credibility. You’ve got the schooling; you’ve got the degrees; you’ve got the IP of your industry. How do you go about making sure the world knows you are credible; you are truly an expert in your field? We’re going to cover for a few minutes today, what if you’re not? What if you just got out of college? What if you have no job? What if your passion is furniture repair, but you really don’t have much experience in furniture repair? What can you do to put your best foot forward to, quite frankly, either get a job, get more business, sell more stuff from your website? We’re going to cover that in some pretty good detail. I’m here to tell you that, if you give me a 22 to 23-year-old, fresh out of school, just got their CPA degree, and give me one year with that person, against, say, someone that’s got 30 years as a CPA, but that 30-year veteran has a website that says, “Home, About Us, Frequently Asked Questions, Products and Services,” what I call a ‘ho-hum, cousin-art website’ … It looks like your cousin did it on a Saturday night. Well, you give me one year with a 23-year-old that does everything I tell them to do online, and I can fairly, with pretty good confidence, tell you that one year later that 23-year-old’s bringing in more traffic and more leads from their website than that 30-year veteran as a CPA. So, I’m going to take some time right now and walk you through, why is that? How is it possible? And how can we get there? First thing we’re going to do is we’re going to cover this credibility situation with a true story. In 2007 Dr. Shuman, a dentist out of Tennessee, called a buddy of mine, Nick, and said, “Hey, Nick, question for you. Somebody told me that your PR firm has some unique abilities that can elevate someone’s credibility online and even help them raise their prices.” Nick said, “Well, maybe. It depends on exactly what your situation is.” Dr. Shuman said, “Well, here’s my situation. I do not want to be working, drilling teeth and pulling teeth, for another 20 years. I want to be done, flat out, in 5 years. Can you help me?” Nick said, “Well, how much do you have to raise your prices to make that happen?” He said, “I have to double or triple your prices.” Nick hesitated for literally 2 to 3 seconds, says, “You know what? I do have a plan, and I’m pretty sure it will work. Write me a check for 12 grand. I’m going to send you 6 tickets to the Emmys. I want you to go to the Emmys, get on the red carpet dressed to the nines, bring your wife, and get a picture with every celebrity that walks by.” Well, Dr. Shuman kind of took a leap of faith, did that, came back a month or two later, called Nick, and said, “Hey, I sent you the digitals of those pictures. Don’t know where we’re going with this. What’s next?” Nick said, “All right. Send me 15 grand. I have 6 tickets to the Grammys, plus tickets to the halftime of the Super Bowl. Dress up, bring your wife, get on the red carpet, do the same thing, get pictures with literally everybody, and send me the digitals. So, Dr. Shuman does, sends Nick the digitals. A couple of months go by. Dr. Shuman sees a small U-Haul backing up into his dental practice, goes to the receiving gate to find out what’s going on, comes to find out there are dozens of pictures 18 inches by 2-1/2 feet wide … 18 inches tall, 2-1/2 feet wide … And it’s beautifully framed pictures of Dr. Shuman with Meryl Streep, Dr. Shuman with Sylvester Stallone. It’s Dr. Shuman with the coach at halftime of the Super Bowl. Basically, it’s just all these pictures. Dr. Shuman calls Nick and he says, “Nick, what in the world am I supposed to do with all these huge photographs?” Nick goes, “Oh, I thought you’d figure that out. Take down everything on your walls in your dental practice and put these up. Put them everywhere.” Dr. Shuman says, “I don’t think so. Matter of fact, I’d like my money back. This is not what I signed up for. This is not me. This is not my personality.” Nick said, “Fine. No problem.” Hung up on him. Dr. Shuman waited a couple minutes, because the last thing Nick said before he hung up was, “Well, get ready to work for the next 20 years, then.” So, calls Nick back and says, “You know what? Okay. I thought about it. We’re in this deep. I’ve paid you. These are gorgeous pictures. I’ll give it a shot. I’m going to fast forward, because there’s another 5 to 10 minutes in this story, but here’s what we’re going to do. That was 2007. I’m going to fast forward, and feel free to google this. Put in “Dr. Shuman, Inc. Magazine,” and you’ll see that in 2009, 2010, and 2011 Dr. Shuman’s practice hit the Inc. 5000 List as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States. Out of 14-some-odd million businesses, Dr. Shuman’s dental practice was in the fastest growing, based on the 4-year tax returns. I know exactly the 7 and 8 figures you need to run to hit the list. We’ve hit it a couple times. For Dr. Shuman to do that with only 3 dental chairs, he had to triple his prices, and, based on the run rate … He’s booked 5 months out … He can retire in 5 years.
How is it possible?
Here is the million dollar question. What changed from 2008 to 2011? Did Dr. Shuman change? Did he go back to school? Did he get a higher degree? Did he learn a new technique? Did he get better at drilling teeth? No. He didn’t change one iota. What changed is simply the appearance of Dr. Shuman’s credibility. That’s it. When you walk into Dr. Shuman’s office, he literally looks like a celebrity dentist. The concept here is actually called the ‘Oprah effect.’ The concept here is, if you can be guilty by association … If you have teenagers in the back seat of a car, and the people in the front seat of the car are smoking marijuana and get pulled over by the police, your child in the back seat … Most adults are going to say they’re guilty by association. If you can be guilty by association, can’t you be successful by association? Napoleon Hill wrote about this in 1926 about the whole Mastermind Group concept of surrounding yourself with the 5 people you want to most resemble. Over time, if you’re hanging with them long enough, the only thing that can happen is you become successful like them. So, this is not new, but it’s somewhat misunderstood. The reality is, going back to Dr. Shuman, Dr. Shuman didn’t change. He didn’t grow as a person. What changed was the perception of Dr. Shuman’s credibility. So, what I’m here to tell everybody listening to this podcast is that you give off signals. My wife writes about this in her books. You give off a persona. You give off trust signals. Matter of fact, my wife in the mid-90s was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls organization. She had to sign an affidavit that said, “When you leave your house, whether you’re coming to the stadium where the Bulls play, or whether you’re coming to practice, or whether you’re just going to the grocery store, you don’t leave without being dressed up, and your hair done, and your makeup done, because you never know who is going to see you, and as of right now you represent the Chicago Bulls organization.” See, the Chicago Bulls organization understands that my wife, Carrie, her persona: what she’s dressed in, how she handles herself, gives off trust signals. To me, when it comes to generating revenue, the most important trust signals that have to be given off are the trust signals that show up when someone googles your personal name and when someone googles your company’s name or your product. We have to ask ourselves, “If people are judging people” … We know they are.
Only 90 seconds to be judged by another person
We have 90 seconds to be put in the box by another person when we’re seen for the first time, and it takes 9 impressions to change the perception that was instilled on that first impression. We know this to be fact. Isn’t it the case that people are judging your website? Or, if you don’t have one, they’re definitely judging that. If they can’t find you when they google you, if you don’t have LinkedIn, if you don’t have Facebook, if you’re nowhere to be found, you’re a ghost. As we know, ghosts don’t take credit cards. So, it’s very difficult to do business without being found, and it’s very difficult to do business when you are found, but there’s a little bit of hesitation because what they’re seeing immediately doesn’t necessarily look credible. Here’s the question. How can someone that maybe doesn’t have $27,000 to give Nick and go to the red carpet … What if you have no money? What can be done to achieve the same or similar results? Let’s go there right now. There is a tool called Google Alerts. I believe this tool may be, possibly, the greatest free tool, if used properly, that can help elevate people’s credibility to generate so much more revenue into a household or a business than any other tool we have ever used or bumped into. So, I want to walk you through how we’ve used it and how we’ve taught hundreds of people to use this tool. If you remember a prior episode … I think that one was titled Reading Your Customer’s Mind … I talked about a different tool called the Google AdWords Keyword Planner in which you could put some phrases in there, and then hit ‘Go,’ and Google will kick back about 800 other phrases that the same people that are typing one phrase into are also typing. I gave the example, if someone types in ‘bike helmets,’ that same person that types in ‘bike helmets,’ I think 28,000 times a month, is also searching for tire pumps, also searching for repair kits, and this, and that. So, if you type into this tool ‘bike helmets,’ hit ‘Go,’ it’s going to tell you what the people looking for bike helmets are also looking for. It allows you to read your customer’s mind. It tells you what your company should come out with next. It tells you, if you just wrote a best-selling book, what might be a good idea for the next book. It’s an incredible tool. I want to take that to the next step and say, “Okay, if you know how to use that tool, how can we take some of the data that that tool provides us into another tool called Google Alerts and let that tool show us, physically show us in real time, what the world is talking about on certain subjects?” Let’s keep in in the same vein. If I put in ‘bike helmets’ and ‘tire pumps’ and ‘bike pumps’ into Google Alerts and hit go, I’ve just asked Google to alert me when any website anywhere in the world writes an article and titles it with the words bike helmets, tire pumps, or bike pumps in the title. I’m asking Google, “If you ever find an article with that in the title, would you please email it to me as it’s happening?” So, if it’s posted on a Thursday, Google Thursday evening is going to send me that article to my email. Here’s how you can go from rookie to expert in 6 months. You’re going to use what’s called the ‘Oprah effect.’ Oprah herself says, “One of the reasons I became a billionaire is really simple. I interviewed dozens and dozens of billionaires. I surrounded myself, and interviewed, and critiqued the most successful people in all categories. It was just a matter of time until I became successful.” That’s Oprah’s words, not mine. She became successful by association. There is a way, using a website, if it has a blog roll, or if it’s a WordPress site, that’s automatically a blog roll, that you can take the feeds that come to you from Google Alerts … Let’s just say Google sees that The New York Times happened to write an article about the top 5 bike helmets for kids, something like that. If that happened, and The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal wrote an article on the top 5 safest bike helmets, if the word ‘bike helmets’ was in the title, Google is going to automatically immediately email me that post. If I take that post … Let’s say I’m 23 years old. I just came out of college. I have no job, but I want to get into the bike industry fast. I want to be well-known, I want to be nationally recognized, and I eventually want to write books, speak from stage, sell products, and I want to endorse things. I want to be an expert.
Be the Siskel and Ebert of your industry
The fastest way we’ve ever seen for somebody to be an expert is to do the Siskel and Ebert of that industry, become the Siskel and Ebert of that industry, have the guts to critique and give your opinion on the best content out there. So, if Google sent me that article from The New York Times on bike helmets, and I’m 23 years old; I just came out of college; I have no job, but I read it, and I’m sharp enough to discern that, “Yeah, you know what? This is a really good article. My website has a few readers that are interested in bike parts.” If you take a minute and read the article and then just get a piece of paper and scratch out some notes about the two things that you agreed with the most in that article and the two things that either caught you a little bit off, or you disagreed with, or you thought could have been written differently or better, what you’re going to do is you’re going to create a post or write a piece of content in your website, and it’s going to go something like this. You’re going to title it something like, maybe, The Five Safest Bike Helmets, According to USA Today, or The New York Times, or something like that. Then you’re going to say to the world … You’re going to physically [type 00:15:53], “Hey. Found a great article in The Wall Street Journal. Here’s a couple things I totally agree with,” and you write a few paragraphs, “but here’s a couple things that I think could have been stated a little differently, or a little better, or I flat out did not agree with it.” Then at the bottom of that you’re going to create a little link that says, “Hey. To read the full article on Wall Street Journal, click here,” and you’re going to let the world leave your site and go read The Wall Street Journal. Mark my words. If you play Siskel and Ebert on one to two pieces of content every single week for 6 to 12 months, like Oprah said, “It is simply a matter of time, if you have the guts to interview and critique the best-of-the-best, until you are perceived as the best also.” I’m going to say that again. If you have the guts to critique, and interview, and be associated with The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the USA Today, and literally critique those articles in your own industry, and other trade journals, and start a piece of content roll, or a blog roll, in your website every week without fail, believe me, Google is going to catch that you’re writing consistently, based on what’s called a ‘keyword silo,’ which is from the first tool I talked about in a previous podcast from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Google’s robots are going to tell that you’re not straying. You are consistently writing on phrases that Google says is relevant to this category, and the reason you’re going to write on those: those are the same phrases you plugged into Google Alerts. It is a phenomenal way to stay focused, stay vertical, stay niche, and literally start dominating the category you want to dominate. We use this on probably 200 of our 600 websites. It has never not worked. If you work it, this thing works. I kind of want to go back to ground zero. We started this little discussion that credibility is today’s currency. I want everybody listening to picture where you’re at today and what you personally believe your level of credibility is in your space. So, you’re either an expert … You’re already writing books and speaking from stages … Or you’ve never done anything. You’ve never spoken anywhere; you’ve never written a book; you’ve never even done a blog post; you don’t even have a job. Here’s what I’m here to tell you. I don’t care where you are in the spectrum. If you think you’re already an expert, if you start using Google Alerts, within 90 days you are going to realize, “Whoa, there is so much I did not know about my own industry.” It’s so eye-opening every time. If you don’t know much about your space, in 3 to 6 months you are literally going to be toe-to-toe, step-by-step with many experts.
Expert in 6 months
In my opinion, 6 months on Google Alerts, if you’re reading everything sent to you, I think you might even know more than the best experts in your space, because a lot of experts that have taken 2 to 3 years off from studying, and learning, and staying timely and relevant … Man. We’re in dog years. Three years on the internet today is like 21 years, right? So, if you’re 23 years old … All four of my kids understand Google Alerts … If you are in your early days and you want to catch up and bring in the bacon, I challenge everybody on this call to get the Google AdWords Keyword Planner out immediately, plug in the 3 to 5 phrases that you think people would search into Google to find you, your product, your service, your company. Print out the complete 800 phrases it kicks back to you. Keep it set to ‘Relevance,’ which means don’t touch any of the dials. Then take the top 100 results one-by-one, put them into Google Alerts, set it to ‘Everything,’ ‘As it happens.’ Those are some of the settings you can adjust inside of Google Alerts. Then, once you set it to ‘Everything’ and ‘As it happens,’ man, let that baby roll and start reading every email sent to you. You will realize how quickly you’re becoming an expert in your space. It is going to floor you. I think I even have a video clip, 10 to 15 minutes on kencourtright.com. There’s a few videos up there. They’re all 15 minutes or less. I think there is a clip in there that walks you through how to use Google Alerts or the Keyword Planner, one of the two. It gives you a little step-by-step, “Hit this button …” It’s super-simple. If I don’t, then just go to YouTube, type in ‘How to use Google Alerts,’ and let a 12-year-old show you how to use it. Basically, that’s it for this podcast. I’m pretty excited to cover this one, because I think this one adds so much value to people that I usually don’t do a talk of any kind without including this little nugget in there. For today, signing off. Everybody take care. Talk to you soon.