Your Perceived Level of Expertise

The other day, the fellow my daughter has been seeing came to the house to pick her up.

(insert all of the Dad vs. Boyfriend jokes you have ever heard)


Truth be told, he shook my hand firmly, looked me in the eye, and was well-spoken too.  I'm still reserving judgment, but he didn't make me feel like committing a felony. So, I guess he's off to a good start.

My wife and I accompanied them to the drive way to see them off. I noticed a large set of dents and scratches in the front fender of his car.  When I inquired about the damage, his response was, "I bought it cheap.  It's a starter car." 

This is NOT my daughter's guy

This is NOT my daughter's guy


This got me thinking.  Appearance matters.  As superficial as that sounds, you only get one chance at a first impression. Society forms an opinion about competence and substance based on what we see.

Everyone wants to be received positively and recognized as the authority in their respective fields.  You have worked hard. You developed a niche, and are well respected in your industry. Being SEEN as the expert is the next step.

It isn't enough to be accomplished and knowledgeable. When clients research you, and they will (via social media, website, marketing material, etc), you need to be perceived as THE authority.  Chicago headshot specialist, Amy Bissonette states that “a great corporate headshot opens doors!” This is 100% true!

This isn't him either

This isn't him either

Perceived level of expertise is just as important as actually being an expert.  High powered firms tend to create an atmosphere of wealth and prestige in their waiting rooms, conference rooms and offices.  They make an investment in expensive art, furniture and other decor.  This gives the impression of power, influence and competence, and makes clients feel that the firm is best equipped and qualified to do the job.


I understood that the young man's car was just a starter vehicle. My hope was that his driving abilities and the innards of the vehicle were substantial enough to return my daughter home, safe and sound.

In speaking with him for a few minutes, it was obvious that I couldn't necessarily judge a book by its cover. His car was not necessarily indicative of his character.  However, it's not often that we have that luxury, and we seldom get a second chance at creating a first impression.

Please don't let your clients question your ability to do the job.  Show them authentic, honest, refined marketing material, which demonstrate that you are polished, professional, and expert!