When was the last time you believed, and I mean beyond a shadow of doubt, what a person told you about themselves?

A stranger you meet at a cocktail or the person in the seat next to you on the plane says something about their capability and competence to you. Would you believe them? If you fall into a comfortable majority, your response is probably: it would depend. On whether you are interested or care to give it any thought, or on whether it appears to have any future benefit to you.

Now make them a paediatrician seeking to perform some drastic medical procedure on your child. Or a lawyer speaking about themselves on a TV interview and you are at the start of a huge career transforming transaction. Or a tax consultant when KRA has issued some interesting letters to you. Or the dentist that is to perform a root canal you desperately need. Would you believe what they say about their competence and take up their services immediately?

If you are honest, you’ll find that your answer will probably be ‘no’. You’ll most likely carry out some proper research with your immediate goal being to find those that have actually interacted with and possibly taken up the services of the service provider.

Why? you ask. Isn’t it obvious? You know why! What you are dealing with is too important! Your child’s life. Your career. Your company’s financial secrets. Your deep and very dark legal secrets. Some serious tooth pain. For this, the personal statement by the service provider and their look is secondary, oftentimes, to what a trusted person or authority has told you about them and their delivery. What they say about their work can only serve as a confirmation of an external report you have received about them. This is why we are so forgiving of the state of the interior decor of many ‘health specialists’ offices.

So, it would be logical for providers of professional services, to focus on ensuring that the ‘reports’ that our potential clients receive from others are positive. Right? Right.

So why then are professional service firms investing their budgets and attention on speaking about themselves? Does this mean they are investing even more on what others say about themselves? I hope so.

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