Their blog is clean and professional looking. Their Facebook page is full of fans. And you find yourself nodding along constantly to their Youtube videos.
But is your favorite marketing and business figure really everything they’re cracked up to be? Unfortunately, getting into the business of ‘public speaking’ or ‘coaching’ over the past decade has become a fad that has attracted both ends of the spectrum: Great people that share their experiences and valuable lessons with others, but also people who more rely on charisma than actual knowledge, offering advice that may or may not pan out.
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Let’s take a look at how you can separate the value-driven business thought leaders from the fakes.
They’ve said more than they’ve done.
One of the biggest signs that someone isn’t quite what they’re saying they are is that it’s hard to actually track down any tangible accomplishments of theirs. It’s incredible how many speakers seem to only have ‘speaking’ as their business. This pyramid-esque tactic means that you might find out that someone is rich, or appears to be rich, but doesn’t have an actual business driving their success. They can’t point to any business who they helped raise revenue, they can’t show you any press releases about their started being bought out for big moneyâ¦ but boy, can they talk.
They don’t say no to questions they don’t know much about.
This is an interesting one in that it usually flies under the radar: A huge red flag for speakers and gurus is that they never say no to a question. “But wait,” you’re thinking, “shouldn’t I be following someone knowledgeable?” And the answer is absolutely, but nobody knows everything. By extension, the people who claim to know everything are often selling snake oil.
Good business people know how to stay in their lane and deliver the best advice in areas they’ve actually been able to deliver the best results in. On the contrary, someone who isn’t legit but wants to seem like they have it all figured out will likely make something up in order to answer a question rather than just saying, “That’s not an industry I’ve worked in so I’m really not comfortable telling you exactly what to do here.”
In fact, someone who uses a sentence like that last one is gaining instantly credibility in many people’s books.
Buzzwords outweigh tactics.
Do you want to make “instant profit” with “no effort” in a “crazy short” amount of time? We’ve all read those cheesy mid 2000’s affiliate marketing sales letters that read like the digital equivalent of the world’s sleeziest used car salesman. They don’t resonate very well anymore, and if you notice that the figures you consume content from spend too much time on buzzwords over any actual substance, it’s a sure sign you should look elsewhere for advice. People with great tactical advice don’t need to fluff it up with BS adjectives.
Ultimately, the people you choose to follow is your business – but just make sure you give it the same attention and scrutiny you would any other business decision!