Some days I fear we’re living in the age of illusion. If you can dream it, you can be it. Fake it ’till you make it. The Internet makes it easy — Heck, my website platform of choice, WordPress, allows anyone to download free software and create a website that makes a person look professional and legitimate in one day.
How To Separate the Wheat From the Chaff?
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve fallen for every trick in the book, so, although my experience has come at a high price, I’m getting better at spotting a charlatan.
Take for example a recent sales pitch from someone I’ve been following on the web for over a year. She was selling space at her two-hour live webinar for the first 1,000 people lucky enough to sign up in time. The cost? A mere $197 for an opportunity to ask her a question, plus get more downloadable printed material than you’ll likely ever have time to print or read. The topic? Why you need a Project Manager in your online business, and where to find them.
The sales pitch was impressive: As was her online marketing. In fact, had I not passed it by a professional project manager with over 25 years experience, I would have fallen for that one, too. The real project manager’s response? The presenter didn’t know her PM (Project Manager) from her OM (Operations Manager).
An Even Scarier Story
At my WordPress Meetup last week a web developer shared this story: A small business owner hired a web development company to build him a new website. For the purposes of this story, we’ll name the small business, New Tools, and the web development company, Slick Web Development. After one month the small business owner noticed that New Tools was not getting any web traffic. In fact, he could not find his website using any of the popular search engines. When New Tools brought this fact to Slick Web Development’s attention, Slick Web Development assured him they could remedy the situation if New Tools would pay a monthly SEO service fee. The owner of New Tools decided to shop around before committing to a long term, expensive contract for Search Engine Optimization.
His inquires lead him to another web developer (we’ll call Mark) whose story I’m retelling. After digging around New Tools’ web site for over an hour, Mark discovered that Slick Web Development put code deep into the back end. What this code did, was make the site invisible to any search engines. Fortunately the owner of New Tools found Mark, a highly skilled website developer, who was able to find the problem.
And The Punch Line Is…
“I can’t believe the old fashioned way of doing business — honesty and good customer service — actually pays off!” said Mark.
“Wow! Were these 20 & 30-somethings raised by wolves,” I asked myself?
Old Fashioned Vs. Out-Of-Fashioned
At some point the fakers get caught. It might not be for a while, but life does seem to catch-up with them: they loose their jobs, loose their clients, loose elections, loose their money. Loose trust.
How Do You Know If You’ve Found The Real Deal?
- Ask someone you trust if they would do business with the person/company you’re considering.
- Check their website for testimonials.
- Shop around and follow your gut.