How to just be the damn expert

Stop asking your clients what they think.

You're the expert - act like it. You can turn your clients into raving fans by just being the fantastic professional that you are. 

Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

You are an expert. You know your stuff. You've spent time studying your craft, and now you're amazing. 

But, you might be making some mistakes when you're dealing with your clients that are undermining your authority. 

How you communicate with your clients has a major impact on how they view you and how they view the quality of your service. What opinions you offer up, when you offer them and how you manage your process all play a roll in how you're perceived.

Want to offer some kick-ass amazing customer service? @@Just be the damn expert.@@

Stop asking your clients what they think

@@Give them your opinion, not just information.@@ Your clients don’t know what to do with the information you’re giving them — they need you to bring your expertise to the discussion.

When you go to your accountant, you want them to tell you what to do. You’re depending on them to interpret the law for you and tell you what your best course of action is, not just list the tax law for you and expect you to understand it.

So, be the expert you are. Bring all your knowledge and experience to the table and use it. Your clients will thank you for it. If you make their lives easier, by using your expertise to help them make the right decision, you are delivering a way more valuable service.

Don’t make your clients do your work

Let’s look at a scenario — put yourself in the client’s position and see which one of these people you’d prefer to work with.

Bob owns Bob’s Photography Studio. He’s been in business for a while and he really knows his photography stuff. Sue calls Bill to book a session and asks if he has any good hair or makeup people that he can recommend because she wants to get her money’s worth out of this shoot. Bob says he doesn’t have anyone. So Sue coordinates that part.

Sue asks if there are any colors/styles/accessories that look better or that she should avoid, to get the most out of the pictures. Bob says she should wear whatever she wants.

The day of the shoot arrives. The hair and makeup person that Sue coordinated shows up, but there was a miscommunication, and she’s only there to do makeup, not hair. Sue didn’t even bring a comb because she thought she’d hired someone to do that, but she pushes through, finger-combs her hair and just keeps rolling. Bob asks what type of shots Sue wants. Sue doesn’t know — she doesn’t speak the photography “language”, so she shows Bob some shots that she likes the style, the feel, etc.

Bob doesn’t want to seem bossy, so he doesn’t tell Sue that she’s slouching, or that the way she’s looking at the camera is giving her a double chin, he just quietly takes the pictures. But when the pictures come back, Sue’s not happy because she has horrible posture in all them, a double chin in most of them and they’re just not what she wanted.

Not a good scenario for sure. You have an unhappy client who hired a photographer to make sure she had some fantastic photos, but Bob didn’t want to seem pushy by telling Sue what to do.

The result was crappy photos and wasted everyone’s time. Sue won’t recommend Bob to anyone.

Be the expert

Let’s replay what the scenario might look like if Bob acted like the expert he is.

Starts the same way — Sue calls Bob to book a session and asks if he has a hair or makeup artist. Bob tells Sue that he has someone that he works with regularly and would love to recommend because he knows they’ll do a great job. He also tells Sue that because that’s such a common request, he actually has a package that includes coordination with a hair and makeup artist and stylist to make sure that everything goes smoothly, looks great and the client doesn’t have to lift a finger to make it happen. Sue says that sounds great and they book a session.

Bob has his operations running like a top and sends Sue the client agreement, requests payment up front, coordinates to have the hair and makeup artists and stylists meet with Sue to figure out the best looks beforehand. He develops a list of shots/looks/locations that he thinks will best fit what Sue is looking for and coordinates that ahead of time.

Sue arrives at the photo shoot feeling relaxed and ready to look fabulous. During the shoot, Bob tells Sue to sit up straight, turn her head just that way and to stop tilting it.

When the shoot is over, Sue LOVES the photos — she looks so relaxed and confident. They are just what she was envisioning, and she has all the shots she needed. She was so impressed that she tells everyone she knows about Bob and how wonderful the experience was.

Bob’s business grows exponentially, and he’s able to raise his prices and become the premium service that he is. All because Bob decided to be a damn expert.

Which Bob would you rather work with? I know I would pay a premium to end up with amazing pictures, without any real effort on my part. @@Feeling pampered instead of overwhelmed, stressed and uncomfortable is worth significantly more.@@

Take total responsibility

Being the expert isn’t referring to becoming an expert. When I’m talking about being the expert, I’m assuming you are already awesome at what you do.

The best way I’ve heard being the expert described came from Pia Silva, author of “Badass Your Brand”. She calls it, “taking total responsibility for the client.” Meaning that their experience with you is completely your responsibility.

You know your process. You have seen what works best.

In the photographer scenario, you know what poses, locations, colors, will bring out the best pictures. So say that. 

Stop being afraid of offending your clients by not saying what you think

@@Your clients hired you specifically to hear what you think.@@ Do you want to hire a lawyer who always says, “here are your options. Pick one.” No! You want to hire a lawyer that says, “here are your options. And here’s why I would recommend Option 1.”

So stop acting like you’re not an expert. Own your expertise. Wear it proudly. Your clients want you to.

Need some help making your process match your expertise?