Have you written your book yet?

It’s the final few hours of the NAEA national convention here in Las Vegas. It’s been a blast getting to meet some long-time Tax Marketing Tips readers face to face, plus being introduced to many new readers as an exhibitor here in conjunction with NTPI. Many thanks to everybody that has dropped by to chat!

This week I want to touch on a subject that is a little off the beaten path of my normal messages: Authority positioning.

We live in a culture that loves to love expertise and authority positioning. If you think about it carefully, it’s the reason NTPI itself exists. As a profession, we tend to embrace anything and everything that that let’s us display expertise (I’m quite opinionated on the subject of “credentialitis”…).

Within the general public, however, it’s a whole different ballgame. Our clients and prospects don’t have a clue (nor do they care…) about all the alphabet soup we put after our name. As an EA, for example, I’m stuck with the challenge of having to explain what I even AM — so I generally don’t bother (it’s rarely questioned by tax resolution prospects, by the way). CPAs and attorneys have built-in designation recognition, but anything beyond that, in terms of public perception, doesn’t mean anything to them.

But if you do something that positions you as an authority, that displays your expertise in a manner that is highly valued by the general public, then that suddenly becomes worth a LOT.

When you write a tax advice column in the local newspaper, or appear regularly on a local business talk radio program, or write a book — you suddenly attach to yourself much higher perceived expertise in the eyes of the general public.

When I wrote my first book over Christmas weekend at the end of 2011, it was driven by being snowed in. But in retrospect, it became one of the best marketing moves I’ve ever made for my tax practice.

After publishing “Tax Resolution Secrets“, it quickly became the best selling tax resolution book on Amazon. It began to routinely generate two to three leads per week coming into my tax resolution practice. With this steady trickle of free prospects coming in, I was able to pick and choose the clients I actually wanted to work with.

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Did the book generate perfect prospects every time? Absolutely not. There were definitely a fair number of “tire kickers” calling in. But at the same time, there were enough good prospects calling and emailing that the process of writing the book had been very much worth my time.

Beyond just the lead generation component coming from people that purchased the book, it also replaced my business cards. I have no ordered business cards since writing that book, even three years later. A book you authored is the best business card you can ever give out.

When you hand prospects a copy of your book, the nature of the interaction usually changes instantly. There is massive authority positioning (deserved or not) that comes from being an author. A book doesn’t get thrown away like a business card, either, and it’s great to be able to say, “Oh, see page 74, that covers exactly what you’re asking about.”

With your new position as a recognized expert, interesting things start to happen. People seek you out. You’re able to command higher fees. You’re able to be a bit pickier about the clients you work with. You have something DIFFERENT to send in your “shock & awe” package in response to inquiries from leads.

Writing a book has, without a doubt, been one of the top three most valuable marketing tools I’ve ever created for my business.

I would highly encourage you to do the same. Writing a book isn’t really that difficult (I wrote Tax Resolution Secrets in 4 days). You can also hire ghostwriters to write a book for you, as I’ve done for three other tax resolution professionals. You can also license rights to a book and put your name on it — several such programs exist, and I’m toying with the idea of offering such a program myself.

Don’t neglect this important component of your marketing communications. A book has a plethora of uses, and can quickly become an important component of many other marketing campaigns you engage in to attract clients.