Do specialists make more than generalists?

Three colorful, red, blue and green, apartment buildings facades with emergency escapes. Typical New York City, Boston or Chicago rental complexes with fire escape stairs next to the windows.

Three colorful, red, blue and green, apartment buildings facades with emergency escapes. Typical New York City, Boston or Chicago rental complexes with fire escape stairs next to the windows.

I’m a keen member of BNI, and have been getting up early for a networking breakfast just about every Thursday for the past 9 years. I recently heard a story which suggests that specialists do indeed make more than generalists.

The story concerned a real estate broker based in Miama who didn’t bother to cover the whole of the city. He didn’t even cover a single district. Instead he concentrated on only one street with six condominiums. In his career he has sold over $3 billion pounds of real estate – at a 3% commission. Evidence that being a specialist makes financial sense.

Think about it – if you were wanting to deal with somebody in business, would you want to use a specialist or a generalist?

You may think that this is rather arguing against ELK’s existence, as we offer a wide range of services, from graphic design and website design through to telemarketing and direct mail! The crucial thing is that as individuals we remain specialists. If you were interested in a successful telemarketing campaign, I am not the person you would want to carry it out! But we have more than one member of staff who will wow you with their ability to get through to a decision maker.

In the same way, I wouldn’t ask them to put together a website for you or design a new logo, as you might not be delighted with the results. We do, however, have a department who are specialists in that very thing.

And me? What do I specialise in? In fact I used to be a generalist, but these days I spend the vast majority of time in the world of elearning, designing online courses and managing virtual learning environments.