Throughout history, selling expertise of any kind was usually local. That also meant that competition was fairly easy to identify and keep an eye on. The post system and the Yellow Pages expanded the range somewhat but still kept it somewhat manageable.

From the neolithic times until the third industrial revolution, the path to solving a complex problem began by finding a specialist expert first, then talking to them about the symptoms. Then came Google, and silently changed the game.

If you are a psychiatrist, people looking for your services will see only colleagues next to you in the Yellow Pages. But people solving the problem via Google will enter the symptoms first, and be pointed in the direction of various DIY solutions, fortune tellers, pills, spiritual gurus, and complete hacks just as easily as your website. People will not understand much about the actual differences, with the exception of the price, in some cases.

Your first “battle” for their attention is no longer against competitors, but mostly a clutter of alternatives and “alternatives” who are collectively blissfully unaware that they are actually competing against each other every day.

This is a challenging prospect, as it becomes almost immaterial how you present yourself relative to your peers when they are often just a very small part of the picture that the clients will be comparing you to.


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