You tell me you’re a professional and you offer professional service. Yes, I hear what you’re telling me, but what does it mean though? I know what it means to me.

Who am I? I’m the president of the condo board, the commercial property manager, the owner of a string of franchise restaurants, the grounds manager of the local hospital. I could be anybody with a need for reliable, high-level landscape services.

Certainly your dress, demeanor and the appearance of your service vehicle and equipment help separate you from the rag-tag, muscle-shirt, pickup-truck crowd. I see some of these folks, their trailers loaded with mowers, rattling down the street every day. Even so, I need more proof to convince me that you’re a professional … that is, at least, until your actions and the quality of your service start speaking for you.

Read more: Don’t Let Your Trucks Trash Your Company Image

Earning certification in your particular green industry specialty is a good start. A designation on your business card or shirt (even though I may not know exactly what it stands for) would get our conversation off in the right direction, at least.

Yes, I’m familiar with the concept of certification even if I’m not familiar with it in regards to your landscaping services. For example, I want an ASE certified specialist fixing whatever problem arises with my car, and not some neighborhood mechanic working out of his garage. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence developed ASE to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service through the testing and certification of repair and service professionals. Bitter experience has taught me that value is more important than price. I’ll pay a premium to get my car repaired by a trained, experienced specialist.

The kind of people you want to attract as customers (and eventually convert into loyal clients) realize the same thing; price is important but value, in almost all cases, is more important to them. For that reason, they recognize and appreciate the effort you’ve demonstrated to learn and practice your craft, evident in the certification(s) you’ve earned.

Earned? Yes, certifications aren’t just handed out, you take the time to explain. Certification signifies you’ve taken classes, participated in education and training sessions, passed rigorous tests and possess a defined level of in-the-field experience. Once you’ve done all of these things you are allowed to display the official designation — you’ve earned it.

I get it. I’m impressed. I’m listening now.