I already know you’re an expert

…they already know you’re capable

When I get hit in the forehead twice on one day with a marketing tip — I know it’s time to share.

Incident One: I’m on the phone with a potential new client who is telling me about his previous experiences with finding the right agency.

He’s describing one agency visit and says, “pretty much all we talked about were how many awards they won.  I already knew they could do the job, I just wanted to know if I liked them.”

Turns out he didn’t like them…but apparently they sure liked themselves.

That agency didn’t get it.

Incident Two: Later that evening (around 11 pm) I’m working in my home office.  I notice a drip of blood that has fallen, apparently from me.  The one drip becomes many and an hour (and two rolls of TP) later, when I still can’t stop the nose bleed… I figure I’d better head to the ER.

We have a new hospital minutes from my house, and fortunately, this was my first visit.  I walked in and within 10 minutes, a nurse is coming out to get me, apologizing for keeping me waiting.  In the holding pen (exam room) the nurse doesn’t tell me about his education or skills, instead he empathized with me by telling me how he used to suffer from nose bleeds and how glad he was I came in, rather than continuing to try to stop it myself.

Doctor comes in 10 minutes later — again, does not tell me his med school GPA or diploma.  He introduces himself by his first name and begins to solve my problem.

(Turns out the solving my problem involved cauterizing — really do not recommend that.)

After the “procedure” — both the doctor and the nurse checked back in and encouraged me to come back in if I couldn’t control the pain or the bleeding started back up.

The entire experience — they focused on me.  They anticipated my questions, concerns and even that I felt a little silly bothering them with a nose bleed.  As the nurse was walking me out to the front door, again he apologized that I had to wait here and there.

They got it.

In today’s age — if someone is approaching you to potentially buy something, they already know you/your product is capable.   No one buys anything today without doing a little research on the web or by asking their network.  If you’ve gotten to the “I want to meet you” stage — they’ve already given you props for your capability.  Now they want to know how the chemistry is.

Here are the questions running through their mind at the interview/first visit stage:

  1. What would they be like to work with?
  2. Do I trust them?
  3. Will they make me look good?
  4. Do they care?

So pitch the PowerPoint slides that blather on about you.  Don’t lead with the awards or credentials.  Just roll up your sleeves and be valuable by being about them.

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21 comments on “I already know you’re an expert

  1. Koozai says:

    A good analogy Drew, it also comes down to the “Would I like to have a pint with them?” test.

    1. Love that test! So simple and yet so telling!


  2. Alan Cliffe says:

    Great Post. Anyone who has ever been in a selling situation, will automatically recognise how true the basis of this article is, thanks for sharing Drew.

    1. Alan,

      It’s interesting to me that we all know we don’t like “being sold to” when we are on the consumer side and yet we do it all the time when we’re on the selling side.


  3. First off, I’m glad to hear you’re alright. I once had to drive my grandpa to have his nose cauterized and I remember him telling the doctor afterward that he felt like had gone ten rounds with Ali.

    Your point about focusing on others is well ssaid. I’ve stopped including the “about me” slide in presentations I do. Some groups require one, so I have some fun with it. I call it “the 5-second obligatory boring about me slide” with a 70-point blow up of my URL.

    At your service,

    1. Michael,

      I often get “chastised” when I speak at conferences that I didn’t tell the audience enough about me. My reply — every thing I said told them about what matters to them — which is all about how I want them to view me.

      Are you settled into the new place and job?


  4. Lisa Hannah says:

    Drew – Hope you’re feeling better, and thanks for sharing your story. It reminded me of when my husband and I met our new insurance agent in person and he spent 20 min literally showing us his awards on a bookcase and what each one was for. Ugh. That said, I do struggle with finding the balance in presentations our sales team uses with new prospects. As a fast growing B2B SaaS company,they are often presenting to many people who haven’t heard of us. How do you establish credibility without making it all about you? We’ve settled on 1 slide with a few bullets that speak to who we are and our track record. But then we dive into our products and more about us. Still working on making it more about them. Would love to hear how others handle effectively.


    1. Lisa,

      What if you did a little testimonial video with some clients (maybe 3 or 4 of them) and let your customers give your “bullet points” that matter? That’s a great way to begin your presentation wrap up without it feeling like you’re all about yourselves.

      Would something like that work?


  5. I don’t know why, but I really love this part… “…I just wanted to know if I liked them.” Love that you’re emphasizing “chemistry” and like-ability here. Great stuff, Drew!

    1. Scott,

      If we truly want to build a loyal client base — assuming we’re competent, it’s all about the relationship. That’s what cements the long term part, I think.


  6. Drew,

    Great article and great advice – can I add one more thing – just ditch that powerpoint – period! (unless you have an audience of over 3 people. Just ask questions about their biz. Works for me.


    1. Rob,

      Agreed — if you are presenting to a small handful of people, a conversation and maybe a one sheet handout should be plenty.


  7. Great analogy, and sorry to hear about the cauterization. That stings!

    You’re right though – I’m sick of people that are so in love with themselves that they talk about awards constantly. Show me how doing business with you is going to make me money. Then we’ll talk!

    1. Andy,

      As we have discussed before — a really simple concept but so difficult to get clients to execute! I think it’s fear. What do you think?


  8. Art Dinkin says:

    The truth can’t be presented any clearer. Well said. Thank you.

  9. Your analogy is as clear as a crystal and I love your last statements, “Don’t lead with the awards or credentials. Just roll up your sleeves and be valuable by being about them.” Nowadays, most people forget about that and it’s really annoying at times that they drag themselves just to let you know what they’re capable of, Tsk. People. I really am inspired with your advise, thanks.

  10. Joy Levin says:

    So many marketers make this mistake – totally miss the boat on addressing the benefits to the consumer, and choose to focus on features instead (or awards, in this case). Thanks for the post.

    1. Joy,

      Exactly — it is the exact opposite of what we should be doing and yet it happens more often than not.


  11. Louise Scott says:

    Liked your article, great analogy, very sorry to hear you had your nose cauterized. Used to suffer from nose bleeds and sought Craniosacral treatment – no painful cauterization and no more nose bleeds 🙂

    1. Louise,

      Thanks very much. I am hoping it was just an odd occurrence and won’t have to visit the ER again!


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