I make it a point to do a lot of training. For years, I’ve listened to experts tell me “people don’t care what you do, your credentials or how long you’ve been in business they just want to know if you can help them.” I tried to internalize this and believe it – after all, so many experts say this, but I just couldn’t bring myself to believe this. It’s so far from what I think – I care a lot about these things, and make it a point to investigate them before I hire anyone or buy their products.
I do care what people do (i.e. what methods they use to accomplish what they promise). If somebody promises to help my skin look better, but it’s through a risky surgical procedure then I’m not interested. If it’s through natural, plant-based, organic skin products then I want to know more!
I also care about people’s credentials. I care not only about formal certifications but also life experiences and past successes. I don’t think people necessarily need a formal certification if they have a track record, but I do want to see some assurance that the person I’m thinking of hiring or buying from has some experience and success in what they do.
I care how long a person has been in business. My thinking is that a business that is dishonest or provides bad service won’t stay in business very long. If I’m buying something for my business, I want to see that the business I’m buying from has more expertise in this area than I do.
Given that I care a lot about all of these things and that they figure prominently in my purchase decisions, how do I reconcile my beliefs with that of other experts who know enough that I opt to learn from them?
I think the answer is in the order in which people care about these things. Before I look at any of these things, there is a first, cursory check to see if the business has something I want. It’s only after the business has passed that step that these other factors become relevant. Once I know I’m interested in what they sell, then I begin the process of checking them out in these other ways.
This is critical point of all this – people DO care about your credentials, but not until they know you have something they want. There’s no point in checking out how qualified someone is until you know there’s at least a chance of doing business with them.
What does this mean for you, the solopreneur business owner?
Whenever you are communicating about your business, make sure to first communicate what you do for people. Once someone knows you have something they want, then you can start talking to them about why they should pick you.
In the comments, tell me how you pick someone to buy from. Do you care about their credentials?