A Historical Snapshot
Does anybody remember the days when we stayed working for one company for the whole of our career? Well, without revealing too much about my age, I remember seeing that career path, but I think it ended with my parent’s generation.
I was born in the 60’s and my Father basically worked for one company his whole life. He was happy doing it because he got developed whilst doing the work, and his employer invested in him. He had a final salary pension scheme (also now a thing of the past) and he is still enjoying that into his late 80’s.
For my generation, 10 years was a long time to spend with one employer and, for my children (30 and 26) 5 years seems to be an eternity.
We have moved to a gig economy where people move around between companies more rapidly and think nothing of starting up in Business themselves. Freedom of choice has led to a highly mobile workforce.
Employers have got used to this and can use this to their advantage by hiring the right expertise to get the job done without troubling the payroll. I am one of these ‘guns for hire’ with a level of expertise which is sought after by the right people. My challenge is to seek out those who need me, and at the right time.
Certain sectors of society have always recognized the prowess of expertise and used symbols to advertise their skills. Going back to the days of the Blacksmith, you could normally hear the bashing of metal on the anvil or you would see an Anvil as a symbol of their services.
Other professions use clothing to signify their expertise. Who remembers the Leonardo DiCaprio film “Catch me if you Can” where he uses a white coat and a stethoscope to evade Tom Hanks’ clutches? Those clothing symbols have been so powerful in that profession that they are rarely questioned even by today’s more confident patients.
Too much Choice
But the internet has bought the whole world to our desktops. If freedom is about having choices to make, then we now have too much. “Ridiculous!” I hear you say. Bear with me on this.
As a for instance, if I type into the Market Leading Search engine, “Pension advisers near me” there are 105 million results brought to me in under a second! Is anybody doing anything else other than offering Pensions if those are the results?
It’s also not particularly helpful because I know that those at the top of the list will have paid to get there and other will use an expertise that I am not familiar with (SEO) to get them onto page 1.
Sales Theory into Practice
I will declare my hand here. My area of expertise is in helping businesses to get the best results from their Salespeople. What I know is that, before any of us buy anything we must:
Know that the product exists
Like it or feel that it is appropriate for us (these first two are done through Marketing)
Trust that the product or service is going to deliver
Of these three, developing Trust is arguably the most difficult although I know Marketing experts who might disagree.
When there is so much choice, how do you develop a Trusting relationship with your chosen market?
If you are a Mars bar competing with a new confectionery product, you have nearly 100 years of product quality and “Work, Rest and Play” advertising slogans to compete with in a low value transaction.
Buying on Trust
How do you develop Trust if you are the Pension Advisor I was looking for?
For a start I probably wouldn’t look on Google unless I was putting more thought into the search. I suppose I could try “Most Trusted Pension adviser in My Location” but again, I am at the whim of complete strangers.
That is the point. When we are making important and significant new purchasing decisions, we normally go and ask advice of those people whose advice we trust. This advice will differ from purchase to purchase. For instance, I wouldn’t ask my Mother for advice on which car to buy but I would ask her about Bread flour and baking.
For important decisions we still tend to have a Trusted network of advisors whose point of view we respect and listen to. The people we trust may be members of our family or other folk who have bought what we are looking for on a more regular basis.
This is important to remember as much if you are selling as well as if you are buying.
When selling, it is far better to ‘transfer this trust’ by asking for a referral from an existing delighted customer, than it is to spend time trying to develop it afresh with people who don’t know, like or Trust you. Just make sure that they are delighted though otherwise you are unlikely to succeed.
When buying, make sure that the person you are asking definitely has the experience that matches your needs before asking them about who they would recommend.
I hope these thoughts help you to find the right experts to meet your needs.