The Value of Experts

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A guest was checking out my vegetable garden and noted that my potato patch was growing extremely well. “Adam” commented that his potato plants were wilted and appeared to be dying. I mentioned a few things I did to keep my potatoes healthy and suggested how Adam might treat his sick plants. Immediately Adam took issue with my ideas. I quickly backed off because I didn't want to get into an argument. However, I was thinking how I wasn’t the one with sick potatoes. I believe part of the issue was that Adam didn't see me as an expert in gardening.

I've noticed that people have a tendency to argue with expert advice. I've had business clients argue with me intensely when they believe their business decision is correct and they don't want to make alterations. Inflexibility makes going forward in a different direction very difficult. In those moments I think to myself, I'm not the one with the failing business.

 

When people don’t view you as an expert, they tend to dismiss your advice.  I believe that in order to become an expert in a field, you need to commit about 10,000 hours. The time you commit to learning your craft or trade will provide you with talking points and experience that will demonstrate that you have expertise customers should pay for.  How can you do that?  Here are some ways:

1.  Write and Publish

Writing and publishing articles is a great way to gain credibility as an expert. For example, when I consider working with a businessperson on a start-up, I provide them with a copy of my book, Roadmap to Success, a guide to starting a business. I do this because I want to save time and prevent charging them for going over the same concepts in the book.  I also want them to know that I have a published book on starting a business.  I want them to read the endorsements from business leaders. This helps establish my expertise.

Writing and publishing articles develops your expert status. Even when articles are posted as blogs, they have an impact. Frequently I will email an appropriate article to a prospective client even if I haven’t published it anywhere. 

After I have published articles, I reprint them on my website.  This adds additional credibility when a reader can see your ideas were published in a significant magazine or newspaper.

2.  Find Speaking Opportunities

Look for opportunities to speak at service clubs and local organizations.  After your presentation, you can post your notes as a blog article with the notation “as presented to my local Rotary club.” Consider recording your presentation using a lapel mike plugged into a recording device.  Then, post the recording on your website with the time and place where you made the presentation. 

3.  Investigate Radio

Another way to add credibility to your expert status is through radio.  Many local radio shows look for individuals to interview on specific topics. Contact radio producers in your area.  Explain your area of expertise and summarize the important information you can provide to the station’s listeners. For example, the owner of a garden supply store could share how to prepare garden beds for spring planting or how to keep weeds down or how to get the best vegetable yield. Make sure you ask for a recording of your interview and post it on your website with the name of the station and program where it first appeared. Consider sending your interview to your email list as well.  

Solomon wrote with confidence when he said, 
“I said to myself, ‘Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.’”  (Ecclesiastes 1:16, NIV) Don’t underestimate the skills that make you an expert in some area.  Share them in ways that establish your competence.

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