Regardless of what you sell, or your experience in the industry, you must be seen as an SME, Subject Matter Expert. 

Hey, Mark, I’ve only been selling for a year. How can I be seen as an SME?

Perhaps you’re defining your market incorrectly. To be seen as an SME, you have to be seen as an expert to your ideal customers.

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People want to do business with SMEs!

Let’s use the example of a new financial planner. 

You’ve only been selling for a year, and you’re going up against people who’ve been in the business for 20 or 30 years. You think, “Man, there’s no way I can grow my business.” Yes, there is.

1. Find your niche. 

You can achieve it by niching your business tight to where you are seen as an SME.

You might say, “My market is going to be couples under the age of 35. They’re going to be couples that have at least one or more graduate degrees, and along with getting those graduate degrees, they’ve incurred a lot of student debt. These are people who have decided to put off kids for now because they really want to get established in their career and don’t feel financially ready. In lieu of kids right now, they’ve got a couple dogs which mean everything to them. In addition, these people may be dealing with one or more parents going through some serious issues in life—health, financial, or otherwise.”

And for the sake of making this even better, let’s say that you as a financial planner are going to focus on those people in Dallas, Texas. 


2. Educate the expert. 

Now your objective is to become an absolute expert in helping couples just like those I’ve just described (as your ICP).

  • How will you help them navigate how to pay off all those student loans? How will the repayment schedule fit into their bigger financial plan?
  • They want somebody who is compassionate and has real empathy towards dogs. Do you?
  • They also are dealing with elderly parents who have challenges. Okay, so you start getting information that I can help them. What are the websites I need to read to become an expert on this? 
  • Okay, so they don’t want to have kids now. So, what are the challenges that people, their age could incur regarding fertility?

You can become a subject matter expert to these people in that niche. 

3. All you need is one open door. 

In thinking of your own niche, you may think, “Mark, there just aren’t any customers there.” No, they’re there. All it’s going to take is for you to find one. Then that door’s going to open up to the next one. 

I’ve done this strategy with so many salespeople in so many industries, and it works. Because you are now seen as an expert to one person, they in turn share you with somebody else. Birds of a feather flock together, so they probably know other people. If it’s business to business, they probably know other businesses. 

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 4. Expertise brings confidence. 

Any time spent as an SME increases your level of confidence. Now you know better questions to ask. You have better information to share.

I want you to set these objectives: 

  • Define your market tight, tight.
  • Determine what are the 5, 6, 7 pieces of information around each one of those tight factors.
  • What do you need to learn? …And then you begin sharing that. 

You begin sharing that in conversations, in phone calls, in email. This is a way that you’re parceling out your expertise and people will begin to recognize you as an SME. 

How to Position Your Product as a Top Priority


+ What if it’s not your product that’s the issue, but how you’re presenting the value?



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Crafting a Resilient Sales Strategy Amidst Market Shifts

w/ Victor Antonio

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+Transform the art of selling into the pursuit of serving 


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Copyright 2024, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.

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