Professional Credibility & the “Trust Me…I am experienced” line
Financial Advice & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Value Proposition

Professional Credibility & the "Trust Me...I am experienced" line

November 11, 2022

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

“Trust me…I’m an experienced professional…”

How many times do we hear a professional claiming that a client should trust them and deal with them because they have X number of years experience?  Does this “years of experience” thing really translate into professional credibility?

 

Increasingly cynical consumers ask themselves “do you really have 20 years experience, or just 1 years experience 20 times over?

 

Or worse; “do you just have 20 years of not being caught out..?

 

In previous decades there was perhaps a credibility link between the number of successful years of practice and the consumers ability to place faith in the professional.  However, with increasing cynicism generally driven by increased public knowledge and scrutiny of every industrys’ business practices, together with conflicted advice issues and negative headlines, the “years of experience” argument does not carry the weight that many professionals in the industry might think.

 

If we are really honest marketing your expertise on the basis of (say) having been in the career for 30 years just gives them an indication of your age in reality doesn’t it?  It doesn’t give consumers any specific information about your capability, or specialty, or areas of excellence.  It gives no sense of whether it has been 30 years of staying just on the right side of the rules, or 30 years of building a stellar reputation as a world leader in your discipline.  It is just a number without context.  30 years.

 

In the continual search for meaningful differentiators which prospective customers can understand and use when weighing up their professional advice choices, merely expressing the number of years you’ve “survived” in the business doesn’t really cut it.

 

 

It is far more relevant for a customer if you highlight numbers that give them an insight into how those years have been used, and how ones professional competency has grown.  That carries the potential be be a potential point of difference.  So instead of merely claiming X years of experience, it becomes far more relevant to cite specifics.

 

For example:

  • I have been a Certified Financial Planner for the last 12 years of my 15 years in the business.  I began studying for my CFP designation when entering the industry, and qualified within 3 years at first attempt, which less than 40% of CFP applicants achieve.  Since achieving this professional designation I have been committed to improving my professional competency with a minimum of 30 hours ongoing technical learning each year….that means that I’ve put in over a thousand hours of technical training to be classed amongst the best financial planners in the world.

 

  • I entered the business in 1986, and immediately learned how to work in the most incredible bull market of all time, followed by the most intense bear market of all time. MY apprenticeship through those years has resulted in me subsequently safely steering more than 500 clients to achieving their retirement goals since that time.

 

  • As a CFA I have undergone XX hours of formal learning, passed XX exams and have been a practicing member of the Institute for 14 years. I am an acknowledged expert in technical  investment analysis and portfolio construction.

 

Each of these simple examples conveys significantly more credibility than a bald claim of how many years one has earned a living in the industry or profession.

 

To create credibility professionally one has to be prepared to explain what the professional experience means, or what you have achieved during that time which translates into a desireable benefit for prospective clients.  This is not crass self-promotion – it is about creating meaningful context for potential clients to help them understand the relevance of your experience for them.

 

This approach will be far more meaningful to potential clients than  “trust me…I have X years experience” and it will result in greater success.

 

Try it.

 

You might also be interested in this related article:
No Value Proposition? Then how will prospects decide who to choose?
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