You’re an entrepreneur or business professional, and you recently published your first book.

As you make a business offer to one of your qualified prospects, how do you make it stand out from all of the competing offers your prospect may be getting from your competitors? How do you make your prospect feel safe selecting yours? The answer to both questions is by positioning yourself as the expert. Buyers want to buy from experts. Buyers feel safe buying from experts.

You need to prove your expertise to truly position yourself as an expert. Proof of expertise includes academic degrees, client testimonials, books, keynote addresses, articles, white papers, speaking gigs, etc. Experienced marketers will tell you that of all these different kinds of proof, a book by far is the best. It’s the ultimate showcase for your expertise, because it demonstrates both your comprehensive knowledge of, and your dedication to, your subject.

Bernie Borges is the founder and CEO of the Internet marketing agency Find and Convert, where he helps businesses produce sales opportunities through Internet marketing. Mr. Borges is also the author of Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap between Seller and Buyer through Social Media Marketing (Wheatmark, 2009). He says of his book: “I regularly compete for new business among other Internet marketing agencies. Without question, when I hand a prospective new client my book … I am immediately set apart from all of my competitors. Nearly each time, I win the new client.”

He wins the new client because his book positions him as the expert to be trusted (rather than his bookless competitors).

Another example: Bad boy chef Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel’s long-running show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, is one of the most recognized experts in the culinary field. This didn’t happen by chance; it happened as a direct result of his publishing the book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (Bloomsbury, 2000). Before the book’s publication Mr. Bourdain had a respectable career managing the kitchens of several restaurants in New York. Since the book’s publication he’s had two wildly successful TV shows; published nine more books (including several mysteries); had a sitcom character based on him; launched an award-winning blog; been a guest on Top Chef and several other shows; had articles published  in numerous papers, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Times, The Los Angeles Times, andThe Observer; made a cameo appearance in a major movie; and been hired as a writer for the HBO series Treme.

The publication of Kitchen Confidential was the watershed event that set Mr. Bourdain apart from the tens of thousands of other chefs out there. It’s what allowed (and allows) him to make offers to publishers and TV producers and have these offers be taken seriously and accepted.

Positioning yourself as an expert is key to marketing your business successfully, and nothing positions you as an expert better than a book.