You can’t fake skill

You can’t fake skill

“Don’t try to impress a girl by saying you play the guitar. She might hand you one. “

This Kestrel Quip may seem like dating advice rather than a topic for a blog about your small business marketing, but there is an analogy in here somewhere.

Once upon a time, long ago, when I was treading water in the dating pool, I met an impressive young lady. She liked the same bands I liked and seemed to gravitate towards musicians.  I owned a guitar, read Guitar Player Magazine, and generally knew enough to talk like someone who was presumably a pretty good guitar player. She seemed impressed.  She was impressed enough that she fetched a guitar and asked It takes skill to play guitarme to play.

Did I mention that I am a lousy guitar player? I can form something similar to four chords, but stringing them together in a manner that resembles music is not my forte.  This is where the story ends about that girl.

Have you seen sales copy on a website that was a little bit like that young man trying to impress? Even worse, has a sales rep just told you what you wanted to hear?

With the freely available information on countless blogs and forums, most of us have a general idea about the current industry trends and buzzwords. It may be tempting to use that familiarity with a topic to create the impression that we are skilled in an area when,in fact, we have little experience. This is particularly true in areas where the potential customer may not themselves have expertise.

Think about the best possible outcome for impressing them with your perceived skill. What happens if they buy your product or sign a contract with your firm?  When they hand you that guitar will you make beautiful music?

Please note that in my story, I never told the girl I was as good as Mark Knopfler.  I never even overtly stated I could play well.  When her curiosity was sufficiently piqued, she in essence, asked me for proof of the perception I had created.

If you are writing copy for your website, be specific about what unique skills or expertise you have to offer. If a potential client infers you are skilled in an area you are not, avoid the temptation to let it slide. The satisfaction of landing a contract for work you can’t excellently perform is fleeting.  In other words – with guitars and in business –  you can’t fake skill.


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