How to be Perceived as an Expert on Any Subject

Expertise for Meetups

As I was thinking through my post from yesterday I began to think how I can incorporate meetups into my current business. What do I enjoy? What types of services can I offer people? Who do I want to learn from?

All these questions and more began racing through my mind as I tinkered with ideas. The most prominent of these was a meetup based on teaching small business owner’s what I know about SEO (search engine optimization) and online marketing.

That got me thinking… Today I want to discuss how to be perceived as an expert on any subject.

Doubt Showed Up to the Party

I almost immediately dismissed this idea, even though it was the best of the lot. I dismissed it because I told myself I was not an expert, I was not a guru, I was not an SEO ninja. But according to whom am I not any of these things?

Well I am a novice compared to the people I listen to on podcasts and whose articles I read online every day.

But I am a relative expert compared to the small business owner’s that I work with (in the past, currently, and the ones I want to work with) on SEO subjects.

I had to put myself in check and reassure myself of what I know to be true. I can help other small business owners improve their online presence.

Sales Training Examples

How to be Perceived as an ExpertWhen I trained sales people at the furniture company I had to reassure people of this all the time. Many would come to me paralyzed with fear saying things like, “I don’t know enough about the product to sell it” or, “I can’t sell anything until I know all the products by heart.”

I would immediately cut them off and have to explain that you don’t need to know everything about a subject to be perceived as an expert. You just need to know more than the people you are selling to.

It helps a great deal when you know everything, but it’s not necessary. The more knowledge you have, the more widely recognized as an expert you will be considered.

When I first started selling furniture I was in their shoes too. But I had been doing it for years and was considered an expert by peers and even superiors across the industry even though I was significantly younger than most.


In furniture sales I would teach everyone to repeat specific lines as their greet, close, and referral pitch. This conversation always came up around the time when new people were coming on board. Some didn’t want to start selling until they had every line memorized.

If you’ve ever played music you are shaking your head with me right now. Your teachers always say, “The audience doesn’t know what it’s supposed to sound like. So if you misstep, keep going and don’t dwell on it.”

It’s the same concept when selling furniture, SEO guidance, or any other product/service you can think of. If you misstep, keep going and get back on course as soon as possible. 

One of the best ways to learn is through trial and error. Some of the in-depth knowledge I picked up over the years was because of a challenging customer that knew it all (literally) and corrected me when I misspoke.

Those occasions are rare, but they do come along, and they force you to become better at your craft. They keep you in check so you are constantly sharpening your ax and avoiding arrogance.

Twisting of Words

Please don’t confuse this with me saying, “Lie to people, they’ll never know the difference” because that is not what I intend. I want to be crystal clear with my message today: In your own mind you may not be an expert, but when you know more than others you can be considered an expert to them. 

You don’t have to compare yourself to the best in the world. They are the best in the world for a reason, and odds are you are comparing your start to their prime.

The basic premise of this requires that you know more than the people you are selling to or advising. Be sure to do your homework before jumping out there and begin selling yourself or your products, you need a healthy base knowledge before people will even begin to trust that you know what you are talking about.

Don’t forget that today’s consumers are quite savvy and can see through BS just as well as you can!

Have you had an instance when you were hesitant to consider yourself an expert? Did you get over it? How did it turn out?

Leave a comment below or chat with me on Twitter.

Have a great day!