Is it better to be a "specialist" or "general practitioner"?

12 replies
In your own offline marketing experience, have you found it better, more profitable, easier to communicate with business owners if you position yourself as a specialist, like an app developer, reputation management expert, SEO expert, etc, or a generalist?

If you're cold calling or approaching businesses, is the conversation easier one way or the other?
#general practitioner #specialist
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Talk about the kinds of problems you solve instead of the product or service you offer.

    It shouldn't make any difference whether you do one thing or one hundred. Your sales process should narrow the conversation down nicely and quickly. The solution is best presented at the end of the process, not the beginning. People want to jump to the solution, though, and this results in the prospect getting free consulting. Then they don't need you anymore, and go to find what you offer at the lowest price they can find.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel LaRusso
      How then, would you begin the call with a business owner, going this route? All the call scripts and training I've seen focus on leading in with asking about a specific need or service.

      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Talk about the kinds of problems you solve instead of the product or service you offer.

      It shouldn't make any difference whether you do one thing or one hundred. Your sales process should narrow the conversation down nicely and quickly. The solution is best presented at the end of the process, not the beginning. People want to jump to the solution, though, and this results in the prospect getting free consulting. Then they don't need you anymore, and go to find what you offer at the lowest price they can find.
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      It is unwise to trust all you read on the internet.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by Daniel LaRusso View Post

        How then, would you begin the call with a business owner, going this route? All the call scripts and training I've seen focus on leading in with asking about a specific need or service.
        Here's mine

        I work with business owners and sales executives who are:

        * frustrated that price keeps coming up as the #1 objection

        * concerned that their revenue is up one month and down the next, like a yo-yo

        * upset that they or their sales staff are either unwilling or unable to make prospecting calls consistently and effectively.

        Note I don't say "I'm a sales trainer and you need sales training." If any of these resonate with my prospect, they'll want to talk about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Foster
    You'll be paid a lot more if you're seen as THE go to person for a specific group.

    Maybe Chiropractors for example. Be the one person who understands Chiropractor's needs when it comes to marketing. Your clients will stay with you forever because you "get them" and you can charge a higher fee for the same reason.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      It's better to present yourself as a specialist. But you can be several kinds of specialist...

      By niche
      By problem you solve
      By service you provide.

      The natural thing to do is to say you are a specialist in a service you provide. The problem is, the client has to translate that into something they need....and most can't.

      If you specialize in a solution to a specific problem, they can instantly identify with the problem. Your specific solution is secondary.

      I specialize in a niche, at least that's their perception. And I only have one service...which solves a problem.

      If you specialize in your service...you are a commodity.

      If you specialize in a niche or problem..you are a specialist, and far less likely to be shopped.

      After you get a client, you can branch out into solving different problems for them.

      You've been getting some good advice here, I think.
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      • Profile picture of the author serryjw
        Claude, When I was selling for decades offline, I like to focus on an industry. It gave me advantage that they had same problems,/concerns, you learn their vocabulary & you can refer to successes with prospects in their industry.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel LaRusso
    I know this is a broad question, but I can do mobile website design, build apps, reputation management, Facebook, email marketing, and outsource SEO and Google plus.

    I have an MBA and about 15 years of experience in healthcare administration. Is focusing on physician offices, mainly, ironically, specialists, a good idea for a vertical or is that too hard to go after?
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    It is unwise to trust all you read on the internet.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Daniel LaRusso View Post

      I know this is a broad question, but I can do mobile website design, build apps, reputation management, Facebook, email marketing, and outsource SEO and Google plus.

      I have an MBA and about 15 years of experience in healthcare administration. Is focusing on physician offices, mainly, ironically, specialists, a good idea for a vertical or is that too hard to go after?
      I'm not in that niche, but at first look, it sounds like the obvious choice. You would also have a unique marketing position.
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  • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
    The more types of problems you can solve equates to the more types of services you can provide meaning more streams of income for you a d results in your clients being more dependent on you for everything.

    I'm not comfortable with my clients being trained to get a "guy" for every little thing. Cuz eventually a guy replaces you
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    • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Your sales process should narrow the conversation down nicely and quickly. The solution is best presented at the end of the process, not the beginning.
      Amen. When you are talking to these people (remember you are talking to people - not businesses) - you should be finding out their intentions and struggles and allowing them to guide the conversation to your service.

      You then pitch them as a specialist of that service.

      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      After you get a client, you can branch out into solving different problems for them.
      Not only can you branch out - you should branch out if possible.

      Think about a possible two-step approach.

      First - Consider the business owners perception of what they think they want. If they want websites or marketing or direct mail, leads, patients, whatever - this is one of your products. You use these specific product offerings as a way to get in front of them. If all they want you to do is that specific product, fine. Do it.

      Second - You know you have a plethora of reading and study and experience to offer this person. While you used the initial service as a way to get them as a client - you should always be looking for more ways you can help them. Or, maybe what they hired you for isn't what is really needed. Tread very carefully, give them what they want, and also begin to offer them what they need.

      Over time - you can greatly improve your position in the mind of the client. And when they refer you - it will not be for the initial specific service you offered. They will refer you because of all of the help you have given them. When they refer you, they will position you differently than when you first met.
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      Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Be a specialist in RESULTS, not a specialist in a TOOL. Only TOOLS do that.

    Does a carpenter or builder ask you if you need some hammer work done? Or if you need a deck built?

    I assume builders have tools and I don't care what tools they use. I want to hire them to build a nice house.
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    In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel LaRusso
      GREAT way to express this! I've never seen it explained like you did.

      Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

      Be a specialist in RESULTS, not a specialist in a TOOL. Only TOOLS do that.

      Does a carpenter or builder ask you if you need some hammer work done? Or if you need a deck built?

      I assume builders have tools and I don't care what tools they use. I want to hire them to build a nice house.
      Signature

      It is unwise to trust all you read on the internet.
      - Benjamin Franklin

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