Helpful Expertise®

by GregLouie

This year, I’ve been talking a lot about how we’re featuring Diamond Certified Expert Contributions in more places than ever before. From more experts on our homepage to geo-specific Expert Banners on to Expert Ads in Bay Area News Group (BANG) newspapers, we’ve worked hard to expand the reach of Diamond Certified Experts and make sure consumers throughout the Greater Bay Area have access to the Helpful Expertise® of Diamond Certified companies. Indeed, providing Helpful Expertise® is crucial for the long-term success of your company, but have you thought about what the phrase really means?

Nowadays, there’s so much information pouring forth from the internet that consumers feel they should know more about the subjects that impact them. So, before they buy from you, they want to feel that you have the specific expertise to both help them understand the topic and give them confidence in how your company will actually perform the work.

Helpful Expertise® must be helpful to the person being helped.
The first key is to understand and embrace the definition. “Helpful” is in the eye of the person being helped, not the person providing the help. Let’s say I’m providing a bid for Mary Smith at her house and she asks me about the possibility of noise coming from new pipes. In a misguided attempt at providing her with Helpful Expertise®, I launch into a technical discussion of tinsel strength, pipe materials, vibration studies and pressure gauge readings. Ten minutes later, she’s looking at me like I’m speaking Latin. In her mind, “Helpful” has disappeared from my company’s brand meaning.

Helpful Expertise® is customized for the individual.
Your potential customer has to feel that the expertise you provide really is helpful to their exact situation and is provided in a manner that suits both their personality and experience with the subject. So, part of the process of providing Helpful Expertise® is discovering each customer’s knowledge and assumptions about the topic and getting a feel for their personality.

Ask two types of questions and adjust your advice based on the answers.
As you provide Helpful Expertise®, intersperse your advice with two types of questions: those that help you determine your potential customer’s knowledge of their specific situation and those that generate feedback from them, which lets you know whether or not they understand the key points you’re making. Then, explain aspects of your topics by matching their verbal pacing and language and frequently making comparisons using metaphors that they’ll likely relate to based on their own experiences and interests. You’ll know whether your expertise is being helpful when you ask them if they’re finding it so. “Was my answer helpful to you or should I explain it differently? Where can I be clearer with my explanation? That probably brings up another question for you, which I’d be happy to help you with.”

Does your company provide Helpful Expertise®?
That’s the big question. I suppose the only true answer is provided by your prospects and customers, but as manager, you can bring up this topic with your staff and make it a theme for 2018 and beyond. Gather your employees for a meeting and ask them to discuss what Helpful Expertise® is and why it’s important. Then, give examples of scenarios where providing the same expertise to two different customers satisfies one while frustrating the other. For your next meeting, challenge each employee to bring one story where they felt they successfully provided Helpful Expertise® and got feedback from the customer that they had indeed been helpful. By exploring these Helpful Expertise® stories over time, your staff will be attuned to providing it better than your competitors when they engage with prospects and customers.