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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  October 18, 2016

Two Things the Best Thought Leaders Do (and Experts Don’t)

2 things that help clients trust you

A recent Strategy+Business article about subject matter experts (SMEs) has some great ideas for us thought leaders, too.

I see a lot of similarities between SMEs going into leadership roles and smart people going down the sought-after thought leadership path. My favorite points:

1. The power of optics. Just like many experts, we thought leaders can get so caught up in what we believe that we forget who’s watching. I see this all the time on social media: solid professionals trading insults about issues not related to business. (Don’t believe me? Just go to Facebook for 10 minutes. It’ll blow your hair back.) Remember, clients and potential buyers watch not only what we do, but how we do it.


Related: The 1 Mistake Thought Leaders Make with Branding


2. Don’t be right all the time. Using the booms was great example of doing something ineffective to serve a greater good. Example of my own: A client wanted me to do something that I knew was a waste of time. But I also knew that if I didn’t honor his request, he would never buy into the findings. So, I took a few hours and went on his detour. What I learned: It doesn’t matter who is right. Sometimes we need to do things not because it’s effective, but because the relationship is worth it.

The difference between a talented person and a sought-after thought leader is not expertise. It’s the ability to see beyond the expertise and manage what’s going on around us.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.