You’ll be pleased to learn that I was not entirely idle over the holidays.
Thanks to a “beer brewing kit” given to me by my children, I joined the ranks of other home-based craftspeople and voluntarily spent an entire afternoon attempting to create a more expensive, lower quality version of a product that is readily available in any number of retail locations.
I will spare you too many of the specifics, other than to say that beer brewing is a not uncomplicated process. Indeed, over the course of just a few hours, I was tasked with all kinds of measuring, boiling, shaking, straining, timing, pouring and temperature-taking activities.
It was like caring for an infant, except this time, I didn’t feel guilty about leaving it alone overnight in the basement.
Did I learn a lot? Absolutely. So much so, in fact, that I am certain things will go a great deal more smoothly the next time.
But here’s the thing…
While I now understand the steps involved, I don’t have any real insight into why I’m doing what I’m doing.
I’m just blindly following a recipe, without any sense of what matters a lot versus what matters not at all.
Am I “making beer?” Sure.
But given my anemic level of comprehension, I have no freedom to improvise and zero ability to make improvements.
Compare that to the ninja-level of understanding possessed by my beer-brewing-aficionado friend, Gordon Graham, who – as proof of his commitment – grows his own hops for this very purpose.
Here are just a few of the things he shared when I asked for some “tips for the novice:”
Be scrupulously clean to avoid contamination.
Pay close attention to temperature.
Swap in fresh yeast from a brewing store and double the recommended quantity.
Do your bottling in the top dishwasher rack so all the spillage (there will be spillage) is simple to clean up.
Novices understand “what.” Experts understand “why.”
How to Look Like an Expert
As professional service providers, we are in the business of selling what we know.
Sometimes it’s customized (working one-on-one with a client); sometimes it’s one-size-fits-all (publishing a book, creating a course, running a webinar).
Whatever the format, it’s information, not tangible things.
Which means that if you want to be viewed as someone whose knowledge is worth paying for, you need to share it (newsletter, blog, podcast, presentations, etc.), so that others can, in effect, sample you.
And the “it” that you want to share are your “Whys” – AKA, your expert insights.
In my beer example, telling me to “use a funnel to fill the bottles” is a “What.” Pointing out that it’s going to be messy, so you probably want to complete this task in the dishwasher, is a “Why.”
To get to your own Whys, consider this critical question: What do you know that a person who just entered your profession yesterday, doesn’t?
The attorney who just passed the bar, the financial planner who just became a CFP, the doctor who just graduated from med school… each of these newly minted grads may actually remember more of the Whats than the seasoned professional.
But it’s the ins and outs, the tricks of the trade, the perspective, that adds the most value – and those only reveal themselves after you’ve brewed a whole lot of beer.
“Now hold on just a minute,” you’ve no doubt just said out loud inbetween sips of your own nearly undrinkable home brew. “If I give away the really good stuff, won’t people just do it themselves, instead of hiring me?”
Of course. That’s why all the plumbers on earth have gone out of business, since there are plenty of books, blogs and videos on the subject available for free, and we all just do it ourselves now.
In other words, don’t worry about “giving too much away.” The more you share – of the really good stuff – the more convinced I become of my need to hire you and nobody else.
Here’s the bottom line.
Experts know the shortcuts. They know what matters and what doesn’t.
When you share those kinds of insights, people listen. Some of those people end up hiring you.
- Have you ever left an infant in the basement overnight? Explain.
- If you were going to brew your own beer, what would you call it?
- What’s an insight in your profession that your less experienced peers don’t realize?
Share your answers below…