Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Fans of PBS’s Masterpiece Classic, “Mr. Selfridge,” probably tuned into the program, “The Secrets of Selfridges,” on the real Harry Selfridge and his iconic store. Selfridges still does a thriving business in the same building that Harry had constructed back in the early 1900s.
One item in particular stood out to me as I viewed this program. When the camera panned the contemporary displays and sweeping interior of the store, I saw how carefully every aspect of the place is directed to communicate this is the go-to place for shopping. But not shopping for just anything or even shopping for everything. Instead, when the video was shot, Selfridges was emphasizing it was the go-to place for jeans.
Jeans were on display, of course, in a variety of imaginative forms throughout the store. But what caught my eye was that the entire store was decorated in denim blues, from light to dark shades. The store’s manager pointed out that even the ride on the escalator subliminally communicated jeans; flower arrangements lavishly spilled out of pots for you to view. But those flowers were fake, and all of them were made from denim. “When you think about buying jeans, we want you to think of Selfridges,” the manager said.
Which brings up a question for you: What are you the go-to person for?
Book buyers, consciously or unconsciously, have a list of go-to writers. They tend to think along these lines:
My go-to person for prayer is Stormie Omartian.
My go-to person for devotionals is Sarah Young.
My go-to person for suspense is Steven James.
We’re all prone to that type of shortcut thinking because it keeps us from having to look at all the options–an exhausting prospect. Recognizing this is how buying decisions tend to be made begs the question: How do you become a go-to person?
Here are 3 steps to get you started:
1. Decide what you are going to specialize in. The famous adage, “If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to hit it,” applies here. You must decide what type of resource you want readers to look to you for.
2. Do not veer from your goal. That means, if you choose to be known for writing historical novels set in the Gilded Age, you ignore your desire to publish that cute children’s story you wrote for your kids, and the devotional for mothers of preschoolers won’t fit in either. Instead, you consistently pursue publishing only what will make you the go-to person.
3. Communicate your specialty in every aspect of your online presence.One of my clients who is very good at consistently presenting herself as a go-to person is Leslie Vernick, a counselor and life coach who concentrates on relationships, especially those that have turned destructive. You can check out her website here. Everything Leslie does online is laser-beam focused on presenting her as the relationship go-to person.
Just remember, when you’re tempted to veer off-message, think about Selfridges denim flowers. Everything you write and do online and in public appearances should communicate that you are the go-to person for _________________.
Now, it’s your turn:
Who are the go-to people you read, and what do you expect to get from them when you crack open one of their books?
What do you aspire to be the go-to person for?
Why writers need to become go-to specialists. Click to tweet.
How do you become a go-to authority? Click to tweet.