Can your new and existing clients see your brand expertise? Removing the angst from value conversations by demonstrating your expertise

  This morning at 9am I was a “model” at my client, Rodney Wayne, Takapuna (Auckland new Zealand) for their L’Oreal Inoa color training session with L’Oreal’s specialist trainer. I have had my hair colored one shade or another for as long as I can remember, but this morning was the first time I fully appreciated, and fully understood, the level of professional chemistry-expertise that goes into hair color and getting it right.

How come this was the first time I got it? I think its because I was, for the first time, privy to the conversations that usually go on in the head of the stylists and color technicians but never get voiced.  In a training session everything is explicit and voiced to demonstrate the processes.  Normally, when I say “make me blonder” I hear “yes” what I don’t hear are the mental acrobatics going on in the head of the stylist, analyzing my current color, my hair condition, my natural color, my skin tones, my allergies and a whole bunch of other things too many to mention.

Now earlier on this morning at 5am, I sat in on a virtual classroom session run by ninetyfive5 in San Francisco. Ninetyfive5 provides sales training with its sales success system and simply say “less nonsense more sales”. This morning we were learning about the “Demand Creation Process”.  Sean Frontz described Demand Creation as “an artful balance between inquiry and advocacy” .

As I sat in the chair looking like Medusa with 8 different dye colors on my head, assimilating everything I had heard, learnt and seen this morning, I concluded:

  1. that just because hairdressers don’t traditionally demonstrate their expertise by writing or blogging they need to find a way to demonstrate that expertise in other ways;
  2. thought leadership in hairdressing requires demonstration of specialist brilliance to the extent that it earns the trusted advisor mantle;
  3. expertise can be demonstrated to new clients or potential new clients by making a more conscious effort at inquiry balanced with advocacy;
  4. the value and associated price discussion would be eliminated in more cases, if only clients got to see and hear more of the decision making process.  This process is entirely predicated by the client’s own particular and unique combination of factors, combined with a high level of technical and product knowledge; and
  5. the demand creation process needs to happen, whether we are service or product suppliers and, provided we are driven by that genuine desire to “try to determine if there is a good fit”. In hairdressing as everywhere else, as Sean said this morning “the first few minutes will be the most crucial”.

I am back in my office, (not bald!), with natural healthy looking hair, after my morning in the chemistry lab and pondering on when the first opportunity will arise for me to practice demand creation in my legal practice.

Originally written and published on a different blog of mine on 18 August 2010.

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