There is such a difference when you work with a specialist instead of a generalist. Those who provide narrow services understand the depth and nuances of their work and are often able to anticipate needs instead of just fulfilling them upon request.

We saw that recently at the funeral home: we left the initial meeting equipped with foam core for photo boards, information about social security survivor benefits, a floral order and a book of suggested readings. The staff gave the priest holy water at the precise moment, like a nurse handing a surgeon a scalpel when needed. They had trash bags to transport flowers safely, canvas bags to carry the guest book and photos and thank you notes on demand. Whether it was an obituary template, instructions on how to dry roses and turn them into a rosary or a list of caterers, I doubt we asked any question that hadn’t been asked before.

One of the greatest services a specialist can provide is to limit the number of choices the client has to make. The number of options can quickly become overwhelming, and a true expert knows how to stagger the decision-making points and how to make them manageable. Anticipating what the client wants to know – and knowing when they need to know it – can go a long way in providing real value in the process.

Think of how you can specialize in one aspect of your work. What can you do to see your services through a client’s lens and then attend to the details in a manner that proves helpful instead of overwhelming? You are the one who sees the big picture; help your client build the frame of the puzzle first and fill in the pieces as needed.

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