Business book review: why you must go to the Go-To Expert

HTWB Go-To ExpertFrankly, The Go-To Expert is not so much a book as it is a 275-page Masters Degree course in marketing and sales for micro-businesses and SMEs. In this one hefty volume you will learn everything you need to know about branding, marketing, PR, sales, selling skills and many more elements to quickly rise head and shoulders above your competitors … and become the Go-To expert in your field.

But there are no quick fixes or magic formulae. And just as well: I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with these self-help books that skirt around a topic and leave you thinking “yeah, that all sounds great, but how do I do  it?”

This book by UK-based Heather Townsend and Jon Baker is many years’ worth of their experience lassoed, harnessed and trotting along in a way that teaches you all the lessons perhaps they should have known but only found out the hard way. That’s probably why they can share their experience so effectively in this book.

Both authors have a strong background in marketing consultancy for professional services partnerships and firms – a particularly challenging area in which to operate successful sales and marketing. I’m probably being a bit flippant here but if they can help create Go-To experts in accountancy and law firms, they can do it anywhere. Certainly, the book’s advice applies to any kind of smaller business from financial planning to hand-made knitwear.

And what I like very much, too, is that the book is delightfully devoid of any pseudo-academic bullsh*t or long, pompous paragraphs about theories: it’s just all good, sound sense.

With me being the writing/scriptwriting obsessive that I am, I was immediately drawn to two chapters in particular and devoured their contents looking for nits to pick. I didn’t find any: here’s what I did  find, though …

Chapter 7 – Publishing your way to success

What? Someone thinks they know as much as I do about writing and publishing a business book? Well, yes they do. I read the whole chapter through very slowly and was nodding in agreement so much I got a stiff neck.

I know the authors obviously were experiencing all this while writing the book and Heather Townsend is already a published author with a couple of other titles, so I was really pleased at what realistic and helpful information they share. Absolutely bang on target – I wouldn’t change a word of it. And that’s saying something from critical, publishing-weary moi.

Chapter 8 – Speaking your way to success

Another breath-holding moment for me when I entered this chapter because writing speeches and helping speakers to deliver their presentations has been, and still is, a major part of my career. Once again I was really pleased to see how the authors advise readers how to research, structure and plan their presentations and speeches, and to write the key elements beforehand.

So often presentation trainers wave me away when I harp on about writing your script, saying instead that you should freewheel to a vague structure. That’s very dangerous for a number of reasons I won’t bore you with here (but here’s an article of mine that expands on the point) and although this book doesn’t tell you write up everything, it does advise writing the beginning and end and key transitions in the middle. Once again, absolutely bang on target, and the advice on delivery is excellent too.

The rest of the book!

This is where I shut up with the “expert’s critique” and started learning as a humble micro-business person. There isn’t room here for me to comment on everything and in any case, after having read the book through, I’m now going back to each section and working through it again. So I can’t yet share my new expertise as the Go-To expert in those areas…

I like the way the book has been laid out in a way that’s easy to absorb and includes a number of checklists, case studies, and exercises for us to work through to make sure we really get the messages. They even offer a free workbook you can send off for to help you embed your learning even further. Brilliant.

Sections include:

1)Determining what your thing is – why you want to be the Go-To Expert, and what exactly is your niche

2)Packaging your brand – honing your services so they’re irresistible to your clients, creating the right personal image and planning your content

3)How to build your visibility and profile to generate high-quality warm leads – via networking, publishing a book, public and business speaking, PR and seminars

4)Turning leads into clients – managing your sales pipeline, perfecting your selling skills, proposals, pitches and more

5)The business of your brand – managing growth, building and leading your team, goal setting, feedback, support, future planning etc

The authors

Heather Townsend is an expert in business networking and marketing with an especial focus on professional services firms and partnerships, and is a regular speaker at UK professional services conferences mainly connected with accountancy, finance and law.

Jon Baker has a background in the major corporate world but in recent years has been focusing on helping small professional practices grow profitably and sustainably from 5 to 50 people.

blog,writing,news,blogging,businessDisclaimer: I have never met Heather Townsend but I do know Jon Baker as a colleague. I did not receive any payment or other incentive for writing this book review, and if I hadn’t thought the book is excellent and well worth investing in, I wouldn’t have written anything about it at all.

Book details

The Go-To Expert
Heather Townsend and Jon Baker
Published by Pearson Education Ltd
ISBN 978-1-292-01491-3 (print)
Also available as an eBook
Amazon UK print 
Amazon UK Kindle
Also available on and other Amazons worldwide
and from Pearson Education Ltd




  1. What a delightful surprise to wake up this morning and read this very thoughtful review of the Go-To Expert.

    Thank you very much.

    You may not recall, but back in 2009 we did very briefly meet when you spoke at a Mums The Boss event in Bedford…

    • You’re welcome, Heather. And I do remember that event…one of the few business networking sessions for women, that had a crèche. What a great idea, although I didn’t need to make use of it as my son was already a grunting teenager by that time…!

  2. Off to order this for my Kindle…

    Thanks Suze