Some time ago I found myself in the local hospital emergency room. What I had thought was the stomach flu had just been diagnosed as appendicitis.
Luckily, the Chief Surgeon was on duty. He laid out my treatment options. “We could give you antibiotics. Eighty percent of the time that works. Or we can go in there and remove it.”
I hesitated. 80% seemed like great odds for antibiotics. Why was surgery even an option?
The surgeon said, “Antibiotics can clear up the current infection. But if the appendix has burst and is leaking stuff into your guts, that’s a serious problem. And even if it hasn’t, there may still be complications that could land you back in here.”
I still wasn’t sure. Going home with a bottle of pills seemed better than abdominal scarring and a week or more on my back. So I asked him: “What would you do?”
“I’d take the surgery.”
An hour later, I was in the operating room. Follow-up reports showed my appendix had in fact perforated — just a little, but caught in time.
Why you should be more like a Doctor
Doctors have AUTHORITY. Most patients give their doctor’s opinion a huge amount of weight in deciding the course of treatment. And the more specialized their knowledge, the more Authority they gain.
This should be a huge clue for professionals in ANY type of business.
Establishing Authority provides you with many benefits:
- Trust. When you demonstrate expert knowledge in your subject, people are more likely to listen to your advice, and seek you out for help. Expertise creates confidence, which can make your selling process easier.
- Differentiation. Authority helps you stand out from other mere “service providers”, which can attract more leads and clients.
- Better Client Relations. When clients recognize your Authority, you become a trusted advisor. They are more likely to take your advice about the best approach, instead of insisting on their own ideas.
- Charge More. When you command Authority, you can justify higher fees and get less resistance from clients. Your services are no longer just a commodity.
One Big Secret: Diagnosis and Prescription
Doctors gain Authority not only through expert knowledge but also for their ability to apply that knowledge to specific solutions.
If you show up at the hospital for help with a stomachache, a doctor doesn’t just “fix it”. He diagnoses the problem and prescribes a treatment.
An easy way to develop more Authority with potential clients is to do the same thing in your business.
Suppose, for example, you’re an accountant. Clients come to you all the time to “do their taxes”.
You could take their basic information and existing books and file a simple tax return. OR, you could ask them a number of questions about their current situation and business activities, and then provide options for additional claims and deductions that could save them money. You could also offer tax planning advice to help with future taxes.
Which of those two approaches is of more value to the client? Which is more likely to establish you as a tax expert?
No matter your type of business, you can come up with your own diagnosis and prescription process. Asking questions helps you learn more about the client and whether they’re a good fit for you. Prescribing a solution shows them you’re applying your unique expertise instead of a mere canned service.Don't just perform services. Diagnose your client's situation and prescribe a solution. That creates Authority. Click To Tweet
Set yourself apart
This is a more common issue than you’d think. Many professionals are simply happy to do the work they’re asked, regardless of the client’s situation.
There are two problems with this. One: if turns out to not the best move for them, they’re not going to get great results. Guess who they’ll blame for that?
Two: when you hand clients a quick result without a thoughtful process behind it, you reinforce their opinion that anyone can do it. This is the attitude that causes “price-shopping” and low-fee negotiation.
The diagnosis and prescription process sets you apart from your competition. Clients recognize your level of knowledge and value your opinion. They view you as a specialist, not merely a “lever-puller”.
They may also pay more for your expertise, and be more likely to return to you for future help.
And, prescribing helps you root out difficult clients before you take them on. If they’re not willing to listen to your opinion and do what’s in their best interest, you can turn them away before they become demanding or nickel-and-dime you on fees.
Over the next few posts, we’ll continue to look at how you can establish, build, and leverage Authority to attract more clients and improve your working relations with them.
Medical degree not required.
Establishing Authority is just one of my “9 Ways to Get More Clients in 7 Days or Less!” To get your copy of this FREE report, click here.