Does Your Customer Want An Expert or a Resource?

Does Your Customer Want An Expert or a Resource?

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If you’re in sales, ask yourself these questions:


  1. Does your customer want you to be an expert or a resource?
  2. Are you expecting them to look at you as the expert?
  3. Are you working overtime in LinkedIn Groups, answering dozens of questions via LinkedIn Answers, or responding to questions on or Quora?
  4. How is that working for you?

Looking through LinkedIn Profiles quite a bit, one thing that jumps out for me is how frequently people claim the word “EXPERT” when describing themselves and their capabilities. I guess I have just grown tired of the overuse of the word expert, especially when it is applied by the person themselves. All of the work you are doing on sites like Focus are helpful to building your brand, your reputation and your network and it can help you become recognized by others as an expert.

How about letting others give you that moniker? If your customers, your employer, heck even your kids call you an expert at something, congratulations! Use the title with pride.

It got me wondering if customers would rather buy from you as an expert, or buy from you as a “RESOURCE”?

Do they really expect you to be a legitimate expert on the latest neuro-surgical instruments in the medical field, or simply be able to deliver the results that they need? Wouldn’t they prefer to build a relationship with someone that has the skills and knowledge to gather the experts together when the need arises, while maintaining a broader, full-spectrum of industry knowledge?

Doesn’t the sales person touting themselves as an expert run the risk of creating too narrow of a value to the customer? What about the overall industry trends that the customer should be aware of? How about being a resource that can bring in the finance “expert” or the engineering “expert” when needed, rather than attempting to be the expert in all those things yourself? Don’t you think the customer will respect you more and be willing to continue building a relationship with you as a resource rather than if you are an expert?

I think I am going to work hard at being a “resource” for my customers. The one that they can count on to gather and deliver the experts when they are needed.

Let’s let others bestow the expert label for a change. What do you think?


patweber - 11 years ago

Clarifying distinction; thank you. What I’ve found is that when I SHOW my expertise maybe through blogging, or interviews, and SHARE other resources that have a similar expertise, it’s more attractive to others. I think my potential customers expect a mix of both and coming from being focused on helping them.

blog seo - 11 years ago

Never ignore the power of word of mouth. You hence need to make sure
that your existing customers have something positive to say about your
product or service.

EliseIgnite - 11 years ago

Excellent point. I know I spend lots of extra time trying to contribute to LinkedIn groups and industry blogs. While it does seem valuable to assert yourself as an expert, the return is not always worth the effort. When I do contribute to such extra activities, I try to make sure that my point is relevant and concise. Sometimes the resource/expert line can be an easy one to cross, and it’s really all about balance and creating the most possible for current customers and future customers. salesverge 

CoachLee - 11 years ago

So agree with you Miles.  Maybe we should ask ourselves How can we be valuable to our clients?  By becoming a resource the focus is on the client while being an expert the focus is on you.  Maybe it is me, but I am turned off by strong egos, good egos are necessary, but look at me, listen to me, because I am the all knowing, all being expert does not work for me and has never worked for me. Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Does Your Customer Want An Expert or a Resource? | The Web Tools Guy – Miles Austin - 11 years ago

[…] Original article: Does Your Customer Want An Expert or a Resource? […]

EXCELLENTPrez - 11 years ago

This is an exceptional question/point. I believe it’s always dangerous to position oneself as an expert… though there are definite pros and cons to positioning either as an expert or a “resource.”In some industries, however, (or even as specifically as when offering certain products or services), one *must* be and position oneself as the expert, or their very existence is futile… and clients will — and should — move elsewhere for a solution to their problem.

JuanFlx - 11 years ago

Hi Miles, well said. IMO we never can be experts cause everything changes so fast. I want my clients to think of me as a valuable resource with access to other great resources, like yourself. 

    Miles Austin - 11 years ago

    JuanFlx I have come to the same conclusion Juan. My gut is telling me that I can be more valuable over a longer period of time with my focus on being a resource.  Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts!

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