Why You're Not An Expert… And Why That's Killing Your Sales Success & Your Business

Achieving sales success is critical and in my last article I wrote about Why Being An Expert Will Boost Your Sales Results & Improve Your Business. We talked about the importance of being an expert for getting potential clients contacting you, making your sales based on value not price and building proper, partnership relationships with your clients. Remember the dictionary definition of expert?

Dictionary.com defines an expert as a person who has some special skill or knowledge in a particular field; specialist; authority.

Read it again and it is clear that not everyone can be an expert right out of the box. Not everyone can add the kind of value that an expert can add. Not everyone has the right skill set to call themselves an expert. Calling yourself an expert does not make you an expert nor does it help you to achieve sales success. And that’s because, not everyone is an expert. And the chances are that YOU ARE NOT AN EXPERT right now.

I’m sorry if you don’t like that statement. To those of your who are experts, congratulations but, to the rest of you, I’m sorry, that’s just the way that it is. But if I don’t tell you this then you have literally no chance of being an expert. Delusion does not equal expertise. If you want to achieve sales success because of your expertise then self-awareness is often the first step.

Most people who think they are experts are not and that hampers their sales success.

  • I first encountered this phenomenon over two decades ago when I went on an NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming course). After 20 days of training (not in sales I might add), people with absolutely no background in selling whatsoever thought that they had the “expertise” to go out and teach experienced sales and business people how to achieve more sales success. Are you joking me?
  • I see it with people who do a couple of years in an industry and then decide to set themselves up as a consultant to that industry and they call themselves an expert and expect sales success. Are you kidding me?
  • I see people who teach courses in personal development, negotiation, management, leadership, communication, sales success, kettle drumming, archery and cookery and claim to be experts in all of the above. Seriously?
  • I see sales and business people who have been in their roles for a matter of minutes but who think that they are the second coming and have nothing left to learn. They think that their expertise will help them to achieve more sales success and win more clients. Really?
  • I see speakers who talk on topics that they knew nothing about last week (seriously!) and who say they are international experts. What?
  • I see sales and business people talking about stuff like they really know what they’re talking about but who invest literally zero time into doing the out-of-the-ordinary work required to become an expert…

I could go on but I am ranting! And, for the most part, this isn’t their fault. For years, many, many people have had a vested interest in telling you that you are an expert. Many, many people have been giving voice to the lie that everyone is an expert in something. This sounds nice and it sounds fair but it’s just not true. If everyone is an expert in something, many people I know are experts in watching the TV, playing Angry Birds and downing beer. They are most certainly not experts in anything that can help them to achieve more sales success or anything that helps them to add significantly more value for their clients than their competitors can.

But it is in the interests of some people to tell you that you are an expert and that you do have expertise because if they can convince you that all they have to do is help you to package and promote your expertise to achieve business and sales success then they can part you and your ego from your cash and sell you their latest book or programme. In many instance, the only “expert” in this equation is them at helping people to open their hard-filled wallets!

Everyone is an expert in something, they carp! Ludicrous! Ludicrous! Ludicrous! But they have to say this so that they can fill their programmes with thousands of fee paying clients and achieve sales success for themselves. What a wholly crass and utterly pathetic statement that is denigrating everyone who has put the time, the effort, the blood, sweat and tears in that is necessary to become an expert.

Look! If everyone was an expert then there would be no value in being an expert. Get it? Being an expert puts you in the minority not the majority. And that makes you a scarce commodity. And that’s where the value comes from. That’s why people call you and want to work with you.

Scarcity = value. Simple.

So the first step to becoming an expert may well be admitting that you’re not one. And that’s okay. Unless you made a conscious decision at some point in the past to become an expert and then dedicated time and effort to becoming one… chances are that you are not. Becoming an expert is not easy. As Roy Castle used to say, “If you want to be the best. If you want to beat the rest. Oh-oh dedication’s what you need!”

Experts by definition are not the norm. If they were the norm then their knowledge would not be specialist, would not add uncommon value, would not attract clients and would not be worth a premium. Experts are people who devote themselves to being the best they possibly can be at what they do. They are the people who can add incredible value for others. They are people who, simply put, invest more time and effort into their expertise than others do.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell describes these high achievers  and acknowledges that this expertise does not come from talent alone but from the 10,000+ hours these people put in.

Have you done your 10,000+ hours? Dedicated hard work, blood, sweat and tears?

“Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.” – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers.

So unless you made the decision, put the hard yards in and separated yourself from the pack, then I am sorry to say that you are not an expert. In fact, just because you were an expert once upon a time does not necessarily mean that you’re still one today. Time and tide wait for no person and unless you are still working on being an expert, chances are that you aren’t any more. Being an expert is not a static thing. It moves. It changes. And you have to keep working, changing and innovating to remain one. You have to work hard to achieve sales success in any business.

But don’t cry in your soup! If you have the self-awareness and honesty to admit to yourself now that you’re not an expert and commit to becoming one, then you are already well ahead of your competition because they are going to carry on, X-Factor style, saying that they are an expert but not ever becoming one. You are one step closer to using the power of expertise to help you to achieve more sales success,   create the business you want and get the life you desire.

In the next article I am going to be unpacking what you need to do to become an expert  and I am going to outline how you can use this to improve your sales success, your business and your life. Make sure that you’ve joined my success newsletter and you’ll be the first to get my articles, strategies and thoughts, straight to your inbox.

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