AUTHORITY is about how your potential customers - your "prospects" - perceive you, in terms of your knowledge, expertise, experience and wisdom in a particular field.
It's a perception, but it can be a critically important one for making sales.
By the way, it's not necessarily about qualifications and experience, although they can help you establish authority... but having a certificate doesn't always translate into authority.
Also, there are times when authority doesn't matter. For example, if you're selling low-value generic products, and your prospects are already looking to buy, then sometimes just having a "BUY NOW" button is all that is needed.
A great example of this is ebay.com, where lots of fairly generic products can be sold by marketplace sellers. Sometimes the only things that matter are price, and also reputation (which is related to authority but not quite the same thing).
However, authority matters in many other selling contexts.
If you're selling higher-value products and services that are somewhat unique or distinctive, prospects will want to know they're getting value for money. (Telling them this in a sales pitch may not be convincing enough.)
If your offer involves learning a new or different way of doing something, prospects will need assurance that your way of doing it is better than the alternatives.
This is where your authority plays a role. The more prospects see you as an expert, the more they will accept what you say.
Relying on a sales pitch to establish and build your authority isn't a good idea, because the act of pitching can put people into a more skeptical and guarded frame of mind. They know that you have something to sell, and therefore you're going to be biased.
This is why it's critically important to PRESELL your prospects first.
With preselling, you can establish and build your authority in a non-selling context, and gradually lead prospects to become ready to buy from you, but without pitching them (i.e. by using what I call "Presell Content").
There are FOUR big reasons why authority is important to establish before you even begin to consider pitching anything:
In the Presell System (if you own it, see Core Component 7, "Authority Builder") I teach 16 ways to demonstrate your authority using Presell Content, as well as several Indicators of Authority, subtle signals that indicate to your prospects that you have natural authority.
For example, one of these is that you've been there. You've been where prospects are at right now, and you found a solution to your problem. This allows you to empathize with your prospects and relate to their situation.
Of course, this doesn't apply to all products and services. A doctor doesn't need to experience the same symptoms as the patient. They just need to diagnose the symptoms. Not all Indicators of Authority will apply to all products.
However, the best way to establish and build your authority is to DEMONSTRATE it in the Presell Content you make available to your prospects.
In other words: show, rather than tell.
Show them you're the expert, by the advice you give and by what you teach them, in your articles, reports, videos and emails.