When you establishing yourself as a leader in the eyes of your clients, they will regard you as a key influencer from whom they can learn, says Norm Trainor, president and CEO of the Covenant Group in Toronto.

“Thought leaders” are those who are able to influence others because they have shown themselves to be experts in their fields, according to Trainor.

Here are four ways in which you can prove yourself to be an influential force:

1. Become a “go to” source in the mainstream media
Becoming known in local media is an effective way of reinforcing your expertise in your area of specialization. You can establish your presence by developing a relationship with a reporter who can depend on you for current and quotable information on financial services. Another option is to produce your own content for radio, television or newspapers.

For example, you might approach a local radio station about producing a “quick tips” segment for one of its programs, or offer to write a monthly column in your community newspaper. By doing so, you can promote your knowledge without the use of advertising.

“When someone reads an article that you wrote, they don’t necessarily think of you as trying to promote yourself,” Trainor says. “They think of you as someone who has knowledge about that particular subject.”

2. Teach a course
If your client seminars are not bringing the results you want, why not go to the local college or university and offer to develop and teach a course on your specialty? Or approach a company whose employees fit your target market and offer to provide a class for them?

For example, if you work with small-business owners, you can go to the local college and see if administrators are interested in providing a class on succession planning for one of their small-business courses.

By associating yourself with an educational institute, says Trainor, you can benefit from that school’s positive reputation.

3. Develop strong COI relationships
By cultivating relationships with centres of influence (COIs) such as accountants and lawyers, you will have other respected professionals endorsing your leadership. These COIs can tell their clients about your expertise and perhaps provide materials such as copies of your newsletter in their offices.

4. Use social media to share your personal leadership
You can influence others through the information you absorb in your personal life. Have you watched an interesting documentary or read a great book that really challenged you? Why not share your thoughts on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?

Advisors seek out prospects who are like-minded, says Shauna Trainor, marketing manager at the Covenant Group. Maybe a prospective client who is an avid reader of biographies appreciates your thoughts on Chris Hadfield’s memoir, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

An online discussion about that book may turn to financial issues.