There are a lot of marketing tricks to choose from, but what makes one expert better than another? What does it take for someone to become an expert in his or her field? Is there some sort of certification that can be earned and then passed on to the next generation? Does experience matter more than anything else? And just how much money should you spend on your efforts? Let’s find out.
First things first, let me say that I’m not going to go into “the science” behind defining expertise, because while we all have our own opinions about this subject (and who am I to tell anyone?), it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re consistent with your definition. That said, if you want to get technical, Wikipedia defines expertise like so:
Expertise refers to knowledge acquired through training or study; skill referring to ability to use such knowledge effectively. A person may qualify as an expert without having formalized education or specialized credentials. However, many academic institutions offer programs designed specifically to develop expertise.
Experts also typically possess sufficient breadth within their area of proficiency to draw upon multiple areas when needed. They do not focus exclusively on narrow aspects of a particular topic. Rather they consider various fields simultaneously and often understand them at a deeper level than most other people.
If you look around online though, you’ll see quite a few different definitions floating around. Some define expertise as being synonymous with authority, others equate it with genius, still others state that expertise means that you’ve been doing something successfully for years. If you read enough articles discussing the concept, you’d think everyone agreed on exactly what expertise was, so why did no one ever come up with a simple universal standard?
So what does any of this mean to us today? Well, it turns out that there are two main characteristics that help determine whether or not you’re considered an expert in your industry. These characteristics include market knowledge and practical skills. But before we talk about these, let’s cover the basics…
What Makes Someone An ‘Expert’?
In order to gain recognition as an expert by prospective clients or customers, you must demonstrate both the following qualities:
1) Knowledge / information gathering
You need to have a thorough understanding of what you’re talking about. You don’t necessarily need to be able to explain everything yourself, but you should have enough insight into your niche to answer general questions posed by potential buyers.
For example, a hair stylist might be called a hairstylist, but she could actually specialize in men’s cuts and color services instead of women’s only. In this case, she would likely be referred to as a male haircut specialist. She will probably also have plenty of ideas of where to start looking after a customer has walked in off the street for a consultation. This kind of knowledge is invaluable! People tend to trust those who seem knowledgeable. As well, since you provide solutions, rather than simply trying to sell things, people feel comfortable asking you for advice.
2) Ability to communicate effectively
This is very important, especially considering that your target audience consists mostly of non-technical folks. It’s essential that you speak clearly and concisely. Being too vague when explaining concepts can cause confusion, and even worse, make people think that you aren’t sure of your answers. When you explain things easily, people tend to believe you.
3) Ability to solve problems
People love to buy products and services that fix their problems/complaints. Think back to a time when you were frustrated with some aspect of life. How many times did someone point you towards a product or service that seemed to fit the bill perfectly? Chances are good that they weren’t selling you something new or exciting — they were giving you something familiar, tried-and-true. People want results, and if they can’t immediately identify with your solution, they’ll search elsewhere.
Now we move onto the actual criteria that determines whether or not you’re considered an expert. Obviously, there isn’t one single way to achieve success, but there are certain traits that almost every successful entrepreneur shares. Here are some examples of each of these.