A few years ago, I set out to determine why some people are the recognized experts in their field, while most of the other practitioners toil in relative obscurity.
It’s an important question, because those who are the established gurus in their respective specialties generally are more in demand, can charge higher fees, get more assignments, and overall are more successful than those who are not at the top of the profession.
The run of the mill in any profession make cold calls, knock on doors, and compete in a dog fight with others providing similar services to get clients and projects.
In sharp contrast, those considered gurus are perceived as the best in the business. So clients … more clients than they can handle … come to them, rather than these gurus having to pound the pavement to dig up business. And that’s an enviable position to be in.
So my first step in understanding how gurus become gurus was to assemble a big list of the people generally recognized as among the top experts or practitioners in their disciplines.
I started with Dr. Ruth Westheimer for sex … Tony Robbins for personal power … Tom Peters for business management … Dr. Andrew Weil for alternative health … Donald Trump in deal making … Bernie Schaeffer on options trading … Edward DeBono on creativity … and on from there.
After I had a few dozen categories and a leader in each, I looked at those people to see what they had in common.
Amazingly, what they had in common was NOT that they were the best practitioner of their craft or activity.
For instance, Alan Dershowitz was my top guru for law. But when it comes to having the best win record among lawyers, he isn’t even in the running.
I listed Dr. Phil as the go-to guy for relationships. But he isn’t a pioneer in psychotherapy, or even particularly well regarded as a therapist.
Edward DeBono is a creativity guru. But there are thousands of artists, musicians, writers, and others who outshine DeBono in creativity tenfold or more.
When I analyzed the data, I found that all people who were top gurus, without exception, had one thing in common: They had written a book on their area of expertise that was published by a traditional publishing house.
But then I dug even deeper and found out other things they did to obtain guru status in their niches.
These activities including appearing on or having TV or radio shows … giving speeches and seminars … writing articles, special reports, and white papers … publishing their own newsletters (e.g., the Limbaugh Letter for Rush Limbaugh) … producing webinars, teleseminars, and post casts … and having heavily visited, content-rich web sites.
When you boil it down, you see that the core principle of molding yourself into a recognized expert in your field is selective dissemination of how-to content to your target market.
In plain English, this means you write and speak about your topic, specialty, or area of expertise.
Your talks and writing contain practical, useful how-to advice on your subject.
And then you disseminate your valuable how-to content to your target audience: people who are potential customers for your services or products.
For instance, some years ago, my colleague BB specialized in helping businesspeople create and deliver presentations.
He promoted his services by offering prospects a free booklet titled “14 Tips for Winning Business Presentations.”
This is how Tom Peters got started: Decades ago, he was an obscure management consultant – just one among a huge pack of many jockeying for business, attention, fame, and fortune.
Then he wrote a book on management — In Search of Excellence — for a major publishing house.
As the story goes, the publisher didn’t expect the book, a somewhat dry treatise on management philosophy, to sell more than a few thousand copies.
But it became a runaway best-seller, and suddenly Peters began his meteoric rise as a management guru on par with the legendary Peter Drucker, who also gained fame primary through his books and lectures.
Ironically, both Peters and Drucker – unlike another management guru, former GE CEO Jack Welch – never held senior level marketing positions with any significant corporations.
This fact supports my contention that the gurus are not those who are best or most qualified at what they do, but who are best at promoting themselves.
I realized, once I understood all this, that I had in fact unknowingly followed the steps used by Peters, BB, Drucker, Dr. Phil, and the others to obtain recognition for myself as one of the gurus in my niche of copywriting.
It started when, with only 5 years experience as a copywriter under my belt – 3 years as a corporate staff writer and 2 freelance – I landed a contract from a big NYC publishing house, Henry Holt & Company, to write a book on copywriting.
At my suggestion, the publisher sent the book in galley to the French chateau of the legendary David Ogilvy, who amazingly read and praised it, giving us a blurb for the cover. Ogilvy’s endorsement of my copywriting knowledge gave my career a kick-start that I previously could have only imagined.
To make a long story short, I sat down and wrote out, in detail, an outline of how I – and the other recognized experts mentioned – undertook step by step campaigns to rise from obscurity to a place where most of the people we would want as clients know our name … and call us without us having to call them first.
Based on this outline, I recorded an easy-to-follow audio home study course titled “Become an Instant Guru.”
This audio CD set shows you in detail a 10-step process for accelerating your status from its current level to that of a top expert in your area of endeavor.
One great piece of news for you: you can see significant results within 90 days of putting the program into action!
Yes, many successful self-promoters who achieve guru status churn out a steady stream of how-to advice on their area of expertise, solidly building their reputations over the course of many years.
But the fact is, you can often get quick results just from your first self-promotion tactic. Tom Peters and I did it with our books and BB with his booklet. So you don’t have to wait years to become famous in your field. You can get better known and more famous within 3 months from today, if you act now.
To find out more about my “Become an Instant Guru” program … or to preview it risk-free for 90 days in your home or office … just click here now[Ed. Note. Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter whose clients include IBM, AT&T, Intuit, Newsmax, Praxair, and Forbes. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter.” He is the author of 80 books including The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt). You can find out more about Bob Bly at www.bly.com.]