Being an expert will help your marketing, differentiate your offer and make selling easier. Most people get that, but many wonder if they are experts. So what is an expert and more importantly are you?

An expert (or is this one an ex spurt?)

If you’re wondering what this picture has to do with the subject think more laterally, or read to the end 🙂

What do you know?

You have useful knowledge about your profession. It may consist of shortcuts from years of experience, questions you ask helping people cut to the heart of their issues, useful ideas (or physical things) people appreciate you sharing, or the way you do your job (productivity and skill).

This maybe obvious, but sometimes we need to value what we have. Many people I speak to don’t value their own knowledge – do you?

Who do you know more than?

You probably know more than most of your clients about your role. Chances are you know more than 95% of the working population. So you know more than most people!

Let’s test that. According to government statistics there are about 65 million people in the UK, 33 million working, nearly 5 million in retail and the motor trade (the most popular SIC code). Even if you don’t break it down any further and you work in retail, you probably know more than 85% of the working UK population about your job.

We could break those 5 million retail workers down into specialist areas, and that’s before we look at a profession such as Accounting (which we could break down into many niches – Accounting for financial advisors anybody?).

Does knowing more than 95% of the population make you an expert? It certainly means you are pretty knowledgeable on your subject! Are we all experts or does that depend on how we use our knowledge?

Who confers the “expert” title upon you?

If your knowledge contains things that others find useful or interesting, then by definition you have expertise they value. That implies that you are only an expert to those who value your knowledge; they are the ones that confer the expert title – not you.

So, what is an expert anyway?

An expert knows more about her subject than most people (not all), and other people must that value that knowledge. To be commercially useful there must be enough people willing to pay enough for that knowledge (another issue).

How to get more people to think of you as an expert.

  • More people approaching you on your subject, gives greater benefit to you (assuming you do something useful with those approaches).
  • It’s easier to be usefully knowledgeable on a narrower range of subjects, so focusing your knowledge in a smaller niche makes being the The Go-To Expert easier on you.
  • Communicating (demonstrating not claiming) with people about the knowledge you have and helping them benefit from it is essential if others are to regard you as an expert.
  • Focusing on those people most likely to value your knowledge is most likely to get you regarded as an expert.


  1. You probably are more knowledgeable that most of the UK population in your chosen area.
  2. Valuing your own skills is an important step.
  3. Other people valuing your knowledge is essential.
  4. A narrow (but big enough to be commercially viable) niche makes it easier to be expert and easier to find those that value your knowledge.

So you are an expert (just need to use your niche or find your niche), rather than an ex spurt (like the picture).

I wrote this for the many people who need to be reminded about step 2; but which step was most useful for you?

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.