Avoid the Instant Expert – 5 Quick Steps to Separate the Burger from the Bun


Have you noticed as you work to grow your business that you’re encountering what I call the “instant expert”?

Are you receiving unasked for advice on negotiation and closing from people who never even sold band candy or magazines in high school?  These are the people who know everything and share it with generosity.  How do you separate this kind of advice from legitimate and valuable counsel?  How do you keep from getting all bun and no burger?

Avoiding the Instant Expert: 5 Questions to Get You More Meat

When it comes to finding reliable advice – true expert advice – qualifying is everything.   My clients often say to me that they asked a lot of questions up front (this is after they’ve had an unfortunate experience with an Instant Expert). 

Over time, I’ve discovered 5 questions they often don’t ask – but wish they had:

  1. Is the expert’s previous experience both extensive and relevant?
  2. Does the expert have your best interests at heart?
  3. Do they always need to find something wrong with what you’ve accomplished, your stance or attitude?
  4. Do they always have a cheaper or free way?
  5. Do they “know someone” who did better than you?

If you’re networked to someone with extensive experience in an area you need, by all means take advantage of their experience as a marketing, sales, technology or social media expert.

On the other hand, if your network contacts are limited to people whose expertise was in one job 20 years ago, thank them kindly for the suggestions.  If they have drunk the Kool-aid of the latest free webinar from an internet guru, likewise.

Forego the Instant Expert: Invest Your Time and Money with People You Know Can Help Your Reach Your Goals

Instead, invest your time and money with those who will help you reach your goals faster.  Avoid the mistake of one of my clients who was looking for a social media expert.

He asked good questions and interviewed over 20 candidates.  He selected one that was a little more expensive than he had hoped but the expert had a strong process, great recommendations.  In six months, my client’s high end brand had been reduced to a commodity brand as a result of this “expert’s” work.

What was the question my client forgot to ask?  “What are some examples you have of working with successful high end brands?”

Take Action – Make This Your Own

  1. Be crystal clear about what you want to accomplish.  This will narrow the field of potential resources to choose from. 
  2. Narrow down to 5-7 questions that will tell you if you have the right expert (start with the 5 listed above). 
  3. Not sure which questions to ask?  This is a great use of your network and social media buddies.  Ask them to help you refine your questions.
  4. Expect to make some level of investment.  Yes, there’s a wealth of information out there for free.  But ask yourself which is the better investment:  to take months or years gathering and collating data that will be obsolete before you’re ready to act on it – or to invest modestly in someone to lead you through the steps quickly so you can get results dramatically faster?

You can also check out this related post:

Are You At a Crossroads? The Best Way to Save a Failing Business

Share a comment – what are the top questions you like to ask of a potential expert resource?

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