How Easily Are You FOOLED By An Idiot In An Expert’s Costume?

Robin Robins IT Marketing, IT Sales, Managed Services, MSP Marketing

Gorilla on DeskJohn Edwards, the psychic medium known for talking to people’s dead relatives, makes millions selling tickets to two-hour events all over the world where he performs (key word: PERFORMS) his psychic feat to people wanting to believe in the afterlife, the ability to connect with lost family members and who have an intense curiosity to discover if he’s the real deal. What he’s actually doing is called a cold read, where a “psychic” can propose a vague statement (“I sense someone with a G or a J name…?”) and then watch for confusion OR confirmation, asking the subject to interpret the image he’s seeing. This is exactly what Chris Voss describes as a “label” in his book Never Split The Difference. You make a statement (“It seems like you’re uncomfortable about the price?”) and watch their reaction. Either they agree they ARE, which opens the discussion, OR they CORRECT you. Either way, you learned something.

What Edwards has working for him is that the people who attend his event WANT to believe and ARE searching for a connection; therefore, one is made. What you also don’t see on the videos and TV shows is that much of the session is carefully edited, sections cut and pasted together, so it appears everything he says makes a connection. The “hit” that lands and surprises the person is filmed, then their reaction is replaced again and again in the same sequence, making it appear that everything said is met with surprised confirmation.

Of COURSE, it’s fake – and I’m not saying I begrudge him. In fact, I would strongly suggest you attend one of his events if it comes to your area. He does accurately describe his events as ENTERTAINMENT, not advice, and doesn’t guarantee any type of results. It’s harmless. What is NOT harmless (and the point of this article) is that you have   to be very careful about believing advice from “advice givers” who position themselves as experts, doling out advice they aren’t following themselves. Never forget: the most expensive advice is WRONG advice.

In IT marketing, I’m amazed at what agencies and so-called experts get away with. They ARE scamming people, preying on ignorance. Their facade of advice would NOT be tolerated for a minute if the buyers actually knew how to do marketing and held them accountable for results, not the BS they tell their clients about “branding” and “getting your name out there.” Many have convinced clients to pay attention to social media metrics such as “Likes” and hashtags as a measure of success. They call them “new metrics for social selling.” I call it a big, stinking pile of…well, you can guess. If these measurements were so important, why don’t we PAY them in Likes and shares instead of real dollars?

This is why I work hard to educate my MSP marketing clients on what good marketing is and take great offense to the haters who claim my “followers” are “Kool-Aid drinkers” who can’t think for themselves. Quite the opposite. I have NO ROOM for those who won’t be serious students of business strategy, REAL METRICS and results-based marketing. One quick litmus test of your “advice” giver on marketing: are THEY doing it successfully themselves right now? The other day I read a white paper on how to market and sell managed services. The advice on marketing? Much ado about nothing. Here’s a piece of advice given: “Stop wasting money on marketing you IT business that focuses on immediate conversation points with customers.” What does that even mean? You want to hire someone to do telemarketing for you; isn’t an obvious question “Tell me how YOU are using it to close business for YOU?”