Proving Your Capabilities Without Sounding Like an ‘Expert’

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How often do see words such as “expert,” “skilled,” “professional,” or “knowledgeable” used in marketing materials? 

Especially among service providers, these terms show up everywhere – and understandably so. They give a glimpse into your capabilities.

But using these words creates a problem. Prospects see them so often that the language loses its effect. Being an “expert” or “professional” turns into just another common claim shared by others in your industry.

So how can you prove your skill and deepen desire for your product or service without sounding like everyone else?

The Kid Creation Effectwaffles kid creation effect

Well, I suggest applying what I call The Kid Creation Effect. Let me share a short story to explain how it works ...

On a recent Saturday morning, I walked into the kitchen to find my 6-year-old son making breakfast. This sight isn’t unusual for the want-to-be chef – Alex loves coming up with new kitchen creations.

This time he had frozen waffles, a loaf of a bread and syrup. First, he toasted two waffles and tossed them on his plate. Then he grabbed a slice of untoasted bread and placed it between the waffles. The stack was then slathered with syrup.

Alex sat at the table and devoured his breakfast with barely a breath.

No doubt, this situation would have been different if I presented him with the same meal.

“Why did you put bread between my waffles?” he would have asked while giving a confused look at his plate.

You see, kids have difficulty finding fault with just about anything they create or discover alone. And, not so surprisingly, adults often share this characteristic.

So, instead of forcing an idea/thought/fact on your prospects, gain an advantage by  helping them come to conclusions on their own. 

Questons that prove your knowledge

Self-tests work well for these situations. You simply walk prospects through questions that prove your knowledge, present a problem and help identify solutions related to your product or service.

One of my favorite self-tests is from Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. You can watch it here: 

During the video, which is used to demonstrate selective attention, viewers are asked to count the number of times a group of people pass a basketball.

Of course, this seems like an easy task.

However, the simple test – which has amassed 11.6 million views – reveals a surprise problem for most viewers. The problem is also a perfect demonstration for Chabris and Simons’ book – as it noted in the video’s description.

Check out the challenge for yourself – it’s brilliant stuff.

A surprise source for self-tests is Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is an excellent marketer (or at least has a strong marketing team behind him). His entire TV show is education-based marketing.

Visit his website and you’ll see lots of self-tests. For example, go to and you can determine if you have food allergies that require a doctor visit.

Test such as these help further position Dr. Oz has a helpful resource and an authority on all types of topics within the medical field.

 He doesn’t have to keep telling you he’s an expert – he just proves it.  I’m astonished at how few local doctors follow Dr. Oz’s educational approach.

Another quick example …

Here’s Orabrush promoting a product while explaining how to tell when your breath stinks: (notice the free offer). (19.5 million views)

Okay, now that you realize self-tests are important, how do you know what type of self-test to provide for your prospects?

Well, to help you figure out this answer, here’s a tale that’s legendary in marketing circles:

Gary Halbert, who many consider one of the greatest copywriters ever, often talked about one of his favorite questions to ask while presenting classes on copywriting and selling by mail.

“If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who would sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side?” he’d ask.

The answers often varied. Some people wanted superior meat. Others mentioned location. And still others expressed a desire for the lowest prices.

After hearing all the answers, Halbert would make his request:

“Okay, I'll give you every single advantage you asked for. I, myself, only want one advantage and, if you will give it to me, I will whip the pants off of all of you when it comes to selling burgers!”

Of course, everyone was anxious to hear what advantage is so beneficial. You’re probably wondering the same thing, right?

“The only advantage I want,” he’d reply, “is a starving crowd!”

You see, Halbert encouraged business owners and entrepreneurs to  watch for groups of people who demonstrated that they are starving (or at least hungry) for a particular product or service .

Thanks to the Internet, these types of prospects are accessible, especially when they search for content related to a product or service. You just have to make sure your content is available for them to consume.

Social sharing shortcut

Social sharing is one shortcut I use for coming up with popular content. Simply go to high-traffic websites in your industry and find the most popular articles.

Sometimes sites highlight the most-read posts. Other times, you can just look at how often an article has been shared on social media.

The most interesting and helpful subject matter is often shared the most.

Once you know these topics, you then just have to create your own content around them.  When prospective clients see that you are writing about a top issue of the day, they will attribute expert status to you.

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