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Why Do Clients Prefer Specialists

There is a reason that most people hate hearing “you have pretty eyes” from a date. It’s a cliche, it’s hard to disprove, and it’s “cheap” to say it. The same thing is true for “I’m a generalist, I can excel in anything” in the context of business.

I sincerely believed that showing that I’m skilled in a variety of fields would impress people, but I was wrong. Expertise is only deployed on high-stakes problems and those usually value specialization.

And people

So why is “deep” expertise worth more? Specialists

1. Have cross-industry insights into common mistakes and trends that even industry veterans miss because they only have one reference point – their own

2. Can afford to do one thing over and over until you build a level of accuracy and consistency not available to generalists who deal with a new environment every day

3. Can diagnose much more quickly, as the assumptions had time to “mature” in the local context, and don’t come from a website/book written before the Corona crisis or similar.

4. Had time to develop deep relationships with other industry veterans. This means that if you come across a challenge you have a reliable cache of reliable people to ask.

This is why “depth” of engagement makes for a good argument for charging more: while anyone can promise higher efficiency, only a specialist can deliver it. If you ever get challenged on that, use the list above.

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