My Informal Polling on the Value of Certifications in Professional Services

My Informal Polling on the Value of Certifications in Professional ServicesJanuary 4, 2023

My Informal Polling on the Value of Certifications in Professional Services

Recently I’ve been asking professional service colleagues about the business they took on in 2022, inquiring about whether those clients asked about their qualifications or certifications during the courtship.

I asked an exit planner how many of the engagements he took on in 2022 asked about his exit planning certifications. The answer? Zero.

I talked to a coach and asked about their ICF certification. Did any of your new engagements last year ask about this certification, what it meant, or comment on whether it was a factor in hiring you? The reply? Not a single one.

I could go on. The point is that I have yet to find, in my little polling project, one instance in which a professional services provider was asked about their certifications.

Not a single one.

For myself, in 2022 I hired Anita R. Henderson - The Author's Midwife as my book coach/editor. I hired Gloria Russell and Carole Townsend to do website and press release copy, respectively, I didn’t ask any of them what certifications they had which qualified them to deliver the outcomes I desired. I’d prequalified them before we had a serious conversation.

Late last year I worked with one of my clients to hire a new CPA. We didn’t ask about degrees or what continuing ed credits they’d received for the year.

If you’re a solo or small firm professional services provider, by the time your prospect has contacted you, your certifications, qualifications, and competence are assumed. That prospect sitting in front of you has done the research. They’ve checked you out online, through a referral source, or both. They're comfortable with the idea that you know what you're doing.

By the time they get to you, they’re largely interested in two things:

–Can you deliver the outcomes they desire?
–Will you be pleasant to work with?

(And if you have a podcast, they’ve heard you already and drawn favorable conclusions about the second question, or they wouldn’t be sitting in front of you.)

If you think about it, it takes the pressure off, right? It’s not about you anymore. You don’t have to worry about a metaphorical piece of spinach on your professional front tooth.

If you focus on the client, the outcomes they desire, and how what you do aids them in their journey, then you’ll be seen as a professional of value.

And value is what every buyer, without exception, wants.


Image created using Craiyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

(This blog post was also posted on LinkedIn.)

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me: I help solo or small professional services firm owners with the confidence and positioning necessary to improve their pricing and change the trajectory of not only their business but their life.

I have a podcast called The Price and Value Journey, which features interviews with industry leaders and audio versions of my blog posts. You can find the podcast on your favorite podcast app.

I also have a book coming out in 2023:  The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset.

For more information, go to

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