Profiting from being an expert needs people to recognise you as the The Go-To Expert and to feel good about knowing less than you. Being the The Go-To Expert means different things to different people, recognition is a key step..
How do I know you’re an expert?
A definition of being an expert could as simple as knowing more than the other person.
Yes that’s me adapting an old proverb. This may be true, but probably won’t help your firm. It’s not helpful enough. How specific is your knowledge? In other words
- How does your knowledge help me? Do I recognise it as being specific enough to help me, as opposed to being very general? How can you demonstrate specificity?
- How do I know your knowledge will help me? Do I have the confidence to allow or want you to help me? How can you help engender confidence?
- How do I feel as a result? I may understand you to be an expert, but if I am left feeling negative about the situation will I want you to help me? How can you help potential clients feel good about asking?
Feeling good and talking to the Go-To Expert
A few days ago I was listening to an IT “expert” explain something to me. I like to think that I’m reasonably IT literate and I thought understood what she was talking about, after a few minutes my head hurt and I decided that I didn’t understand it at all. In fact I felt pretty stupid.
When did you last have an experience like that and what type of service were you buying? More importantly how did the situation leave you feeling?
- Negative and that you really needed this person to help you?
- Negative and that you would find somebody else, or try to do it yourself (avoiding embarrassment)?
There is a school of thought that you make yourself sound expert by bamboozling somebody else, but is leaving somebody feeling negative a good thing – for your long term?
An alternative might be to think of Einstein’s quote.
So if you’ve had something explained to you and it was made to sound simple, how do you feel?
- Negative and that you really needed this person to help you? On asking around I find that this happens when one isn’t given much time, made to feel like an inconvenience, or to feel they were daft (in comparison to the practitioner). This doesn’t happen when you explain something simply.
- Negative and that you would find somebody else, or try to do it yourself? If people think something sounds complex and they’re feeling negative, they are more likely to find somebody else, or try it themselves
- Positive and that you really needed this person to help you? A nice simple explanation of something can make your potential client feel good and realise that you must really know your stuff – as you managed to make them understand it.
- Positive and that you would find somebody else, or try to do it yourself? If it sounded so simple they might try to do it themselves, but they probably would have done that anyway. At least they now know where to go and who to make referrals to.
Explaining things and making them sound simple certainly seems to be the way to increase your expert perception; long term that helps increase fees.
What do you think?