At Hinge we have been studying Visible Experts℠, people who have attained high visibility and expertise in their industry, creating a personal brand that is recognizable industry-wide. We study them because we want to understand how they attained that status and what we can learn from them. This profile focuses on Charles H. Green, a Visible Expert in strategy consultant for professional services.

Charles H. Green has turned trust into a business. A public speaker and a strategy consultant to some of the world’s largest professional services firms, Charlie helps organizations improve both customer relationships and sales by teaching them how to build trust. He is the author of a series of best-selling books, The Trusted Advisor, The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, and Trust-Based Selling, and has used the name and concept as a basis for founding his own consulting firm, Trusted Advisor Associates.


The Power of Trust

Trust is not only at the center of Charlie’s business, but it’s also a major reason for his success. It was trust in himself and his own vision that gave Charlie the confidence to leave the fast-paced world of consulting after 20 years, setting out on his own in 1995 with the idea of writing a book. According to Charlie, “I followed my nose and had confidence in my instincts. I did things that made sense to me, and they turned out right nine times out of ten.” To pay the bills while he searched for inspiration, he fell into corporate training, where he honed his public speaking skills and learned more about cultivating trust through personal interaction.

The book that eventually emerged from this period was The Trusted Advisor, co-written with industry peers David Maister and Robert Galford. Designed to help professional services leaders improve client relationships and increase sales by teaching them to build trust, the book became a huge hit, helping to launch Charlie into Visible Expert status.

Visible Experts and Increased Profit

Being a Visible Expert has opened many doors for Charlie—enabling him to start his own firm, helping him become a highly sought public speaker, and paving the way for two other books. He has also leveraged his Visible Expert status into increased profits. According to Charlie, his fees grew by 150% after the launch of his first book, and he was able to double his fees after joining a speaker’s bureau, an organization that books all of his public speaking engagements.

Charlie does not invest in advertising or outgoing selling; his brand is so big that people seek him out, rather than the other way around. This is a common phenomenon for Visible Experts. But it doesn’t happen by accident. Although he eschews advertising, Charlie continues to promote his name through different types of content marketing. Putting out valuable, mostly free content on a consistent basis allows Charlie to continue to grow both his reputation and his already wide visibility. When industry leaders want to learn even more, they are willing to pay for his services because they already trust him—again, it all comes back to trust.

Visible Experts: Tools of the Trade

Although he employs a variety of content marketing tools to expand his visibility, there are several that Charlie feels provide the most bang for his buck:

  • Books. Charlie’s first book helped him become a Visible Expert, and he is a believer in the power of authorship to build your personal brand.
  • Blog. Charlie ranks his blog as his most important online marketing tool, providing updates several times a week.
  • Public Speaking. Besides being an additional income stream, public speaking engagements allow Charlie to get personal with a large group of prospects. He has found that keynote addresses are the most valuable public speaking engagements.
  • Corporate website. Charlie pays close attention to the content on his site, as he knows that clients will be checking him out here.
  • Social Media. Charlie spreads his content through a variety of social media channels, citing LinkedIn and Twitter as the most valuable for his audience.

These content marketing tools are great for helping you increase your brand, but Charlie points out that becoming a Visible Expert is also about self-confidence, about self-trust and staying open. If you want to become a Visible Expert, Charlie says, “find the thing you can do really well, and do the hell out of it.” Great words to live by.

For more information on becoming a Visible Expert, check out our Visible Expert book below.