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Productivity / Measuring success

Expert credentials: What makes you the expert?

We live in a world full of people purporting to have expert credentials. So how can you tell the difference between fly by nights and the real deal?

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An unfortunate side effect of the level playing field of the Internet is it’s cheapened the currency of expertise. It seems if you spit out of the window it’ll land on a self-proclaimed expert, probably a social media one.

Say I was looking for a financial advisor to invest a lazy hundred grand of my money in ethical investments and after talking to my immediate network, no-one had a referral for me. I’m not in the market, by the way, but if I were, this is the criteria I’d make my decision on.

Qualifications

In this day and age you can buy a degree online. Call me old fashioned, but I’d want my person to have real, earned over years qualifications. If they had an association with a professional body I recognised, that’d reassure me, too. Then again if their business card had too many references to qualifications and/or associations I’d be wary of them trying to impress me. A fine balance, then!

Experience

I’d rather hire a financial advisor with a background in something like banking as opposed to something tangential. I’d also prefer they had been doing their job for over five years and would want access to their former clients so I could verify those glowing testimonials on their website.

"Call me old fashioned, but I’d want my person to have real, earned over years qualifications."

Want more articles like this? Check out the measuring success section.

Industry awareness

I’d like my person to know whose who in her zoo. I imagine she networks with competitors and would unhesitatingly send business their way, were she not qualified to do the job.

Passion

When Googling her, I want to see her letter to the editor in Money magazine. I want to see forum posts where she shares her knowledge. I’d be impressed by a comprehensive LinkedIn presence, an active blog or article contributions to sites like…er, Flying Solo. In fact, and in all honesty, I’d check the Flying Solo contributor roll for a financial advisor before looking elsewhere.  But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

A dedicated website

I know from our last audience survey that 23% don’t have a dedicated presence, but I just wouldn’t if you didn’t. Sorry!

When you got your last job, how much checking up did your client do? Is my level of investigation normal, or do you think I am stuck in an archaic ‘letter of introduction’ mindset?

Also, what do you believe makes YOU the expert? Share your thoughts on expert credentials below.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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