Friday, March 7, 2014

SG Sales Guru: "Fake it till you make it?"

In sales, and in business, we know the adage of "faking it till you make it." After all, few clients want to be your first. Without a track record, clients feel uncertain that you can actually deliver on your promise and are unlikely to give you any business. It is thus not uncommon for new businesses and sales professionals to puff up your credentials to give the aura of being established. While I have nothing against this, I firmly believe that there is a "correct way" of doing this.

Here are 3 rules for you to follow:

1. Based on Truth. With the Internet, nothing is hidden. Any claims you make can easily be verified by a Google search. Prospective clients can accept a little exaggeration, but they cannot accept lies. Once the trust is lost, no sale or business is possible.

2. Relevant Accomplishment. When "faking" it, it is important to use credentials that are relevant. If you are selling a management service, don't tell the client that you were a Miss Singapore or Miss Universe. Any credential presented must aid in the client's buying decision, otherwise it will be considered as conceite.

3. Up-to-Date References. In the same light as relevance, there is an expiry date to some of your accomplishments. Don't cite a slew of awards or accomplishments from 10 years ago with little or none for last year or the year before. To the astute business owner, you will be pegged as a "has been" trying to make a comeback.

In short, it is okay, necessary and even accepted that people will "fake it till the make it." But faking in this context is not lying, but merely branding and positioning your company or yourself. Do it well and you will grow your business. Do it poorly and you just might never "make it."

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