Expertise in any profession is a prerequisite for practicing that profession at all. One can bring talent, which simplifies further learning. Ultimately, however, you have to acquire the necessary knowledge and learn the skills. In some professions, a weekend seminar can suffice for this, in others it takes years.
For many people, expertise equals competence and competence equals the prerequisite for confidence. Both are wrong.
Competence alone is not enough as a prerequisite for trust. Other trust building blocks such as good results, transparency, values, etc. are absolutely essential. Only the right combination gives me the right feeling to be able to trust someone I have not yet met personally.
Competence is a combination of expertise, process knowledge, experience, passion, and capacity. Expertise alone is worthless!
I have seen it in countless companies and also with many freelance service providers. If you ask them what they stand for and why new customers should come to them, the answer is that they studied endlessly (especially doctors) until they were finally allowed to work independently, and perhaps added a Master of Law in America (lawyers) or a doctorate in Germany (popular with consultants). This can also be similar for craftsmen. They have learned in the well-known company XY, that must be enough. Or the cook who did his training in a star restaurant. The receipts for all of this then like to hang on the walls of doctors’ offices, workshops, and in the entrance area of offices. Is that enough to convince new customers?
Many think it is. But what good is the most beautiful knowledge if it has not been tested in practice for years? How can I trust if it is known that the craftsman repeatedly produces poor results despite his best knowledge?
A glance at the website is often enough. There they report in epic breadth about their own offers instead of putting the importance of the service for the customers in the foreground. And quite clearly: Without specialized knowledge, it does not go at all. In this day and age, there is practically no one in the business who does not have competitors. So the products and services must be technically perfect, otherwise, the company has no chance. Therefore, this is usually automatically accepted by the customers. Anyone who is not technically fit has no chance. So he wouldn’t be there at all if I were looking for a new provider. In consequence, this means that there are much more important things to communicate than one’s own professional competence.
But in an emergency, what about the best heart surgeon or the classic car specialist for exactly my model? Even in these cases, what was said before is true. Without passion for the profession, integrity, and without responsibility, you can’t build trustworthiness, even if you are the top graduate of your class.
I’ve always wondered, then, what is worth communicating to highlight expertise? My tip is to highlight that you are doing everything you can to keep your expertise up to date. As the saying goes, “Life is like rowing against the current. If you stop rowing, you fall behind.” Staying on the ball is also related to the necessary passion for a subject area. Those who permanently continue their education or (even better) promote new developments in their own company get a fat plus of trust from their customers. The stonemason who tells me that he has the latest stones with the super-special properties new in stock from the last trade fair no longer needs to tell me that he has a great deal of specialist knowledge. That goes without saying. Or the interior designer who not only visits the Milan Furniture Fair but also travels to Cologne and Paris to study the worldwide novelties. Or the lawyer, who I know not only knows the latest laws but also works on commissions to develop new legislation. Examples can be found in every profession.
So think about how you can show that you are continually building your expertise. By doing so, you not only advance yourself but also provide confidence to successfully attract new customers.
Image from ElasticComputeFarm on Pixabay