Thought leadership is a term that is often used but, frankly, when I look at blogs, and attend webinars it seems to me that thought leadership is a term that is not well understood. That is odd because thought leadership is self defining. Establishing one's company as a thought leader shows that the company can and will provide valuable content free of charge.
Thought leadership is all about creating, providing, and publishing very valuable content about a specific area of business that others will benefit from and appreciate. The key is providing it free with very few strings attached. This should be true of your webinars as well. Webinars are in reality web-seminars and seminars should provide valuable content that your prospects can use.
If you start thinking of webinars as funnel builders that nurture prospects closer to being buyers you will then have embraced the proper intent for doing them. Here is the payoff: If you really provide valuable information in a way that appears that you are not looking for a sale in return you make the prospect feel as though they can trust you to help and be helpful to them. This will build up a generous amount of good-will and will translate into the prospect being willing to receive email, news-letters and warm calls. Providing valuable free content is a very sound way of building a lasting rapport.
Think of the amount of times you have attended a webinar only to have it end up seeming like a sales demo. You are not very likely to attend another in the future are you. What's the old saying? "fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.
Time is a very valuable commodity and you should realize that people are inundated with cold calls, email, and snail mail. They are on guard of their time and they don't often like intruders. If you get a director or an executive on the phone these days you are lucky to get a minute and a half of their time. You have thirty seconds to get their attention. Believe me I know. I work on the phones as an outbound marketing consultant a lot. In some cases cold calling is really the only answer for quick results.
What I am sharing here is a form of consultative selling whereby you establish yourself as a trusted thought leader that can nurture prospects and over the long run gain a larger chunk of their valuable time.
When is the time to begin? the answer is right now. The sooner the better. But realize that you are doing work that will yield rewards much later on. Let's give webinars a good name. Let's make them something that people are really interested in attending.