Being an Expert vs. Being Consistent

Key ingredient to successful word-of-mouth is expertiseWhen it comes to a successful word-of-mouth advertising campaign, one of the key ingredients is expertise. If you are not viewed as an expert in what you do, nobody will trust to recommend you to their friends and family. I spent some time talking about expertise as well as 4 other ingredients in a previous post titled 5 warning signs that your word-of-mouth strategy will never go viral.

After that post went out, I received an email from a friend thanking me for writing that piece. However, she was a little dismayed because she was a new entrepreneur bootstrapping her business and did not think she had enough experience to be considered an expert.  Her view was that it would take years before she could rise to the expert level.

I want to share with you what I told her. In business, expertise is not measured by years of experience. Expertise is not measured by age either. In business, expertise is measured by one thing and one thing only: Consistency.

The dictionary definition for consistent is as follows:

Steadfast adherence to the same principles

The dictionary definition for expert is as follows:

Possessing extensive skill or knowledge

So what exactly is the difference between the two?  The obvious answer is that consistency is a pattern of behavior while expertise is something you possess.  The insight, however, is that you cannot be an expert if you are not consistent.

For 90% of entrepreneurs being viewed as an expert is not necessarily judged by whether you went to University of Pennsylvania or Penn State.  It’s not even judged by whether you have a high school diploma or a PHD.  What expertise is judged by is your ability to do three things:

1. Consistently deliver quality products and services

2. Consistently deliver quality experiences

3. Consistently educate your customers

That’s it. It’s really that simple.  It doesn’t matter if you are a bootstrapping entrepreneur in business for 3 months or a corporation that’s been around for 30 years. If you start doing those three things with your first customer down through your 1000th customer, you will find it effortless to get #1 through #1000 to each provide word-of-mouth referrals.  That is the consistent recipe to go viral.

Unfortunately, the one thing most businesses overlook is #3.  Educating your customers by teaching them best practices is not necessarily viewed as a mandatory function of a business, and it’s not really.  It’s only mandatory if you want to be viewed as an expert.

So what do you think about the connection I made between being an expert and being consistent? Please leave a reply below with your comments.