Are you good enough?
Last week, I had the opportunity to think about that question. I received an offer to sign up for a training program that would have had an industry legend “certify” me after finishing it.
Undoubtedly, the person who poured his expertise into the program is a well-known name in the copywriting field. He has authored several books and has been in the business for decades.
However, I gave much thought to what it means to be “certified” by such a person. Would this make a difference to a prospect? Would they immediately know who this copywriting expert is and would it influence their decision to buy?
When I was in my twenties, I had a beautiful friend named Rachel. She had long, luxurious blond hair, large brown eyes, high cheekbones and full lips. She was literally a man-magnet. Whenever we went out to the clubs, she always attracted a small army who vied for her attention.
I, on the other hand, was not as vivacious as Rachel but once I felt comfortable, I’d chat with the men who approached us. However, it was obvious that Rachel was the initial attraction.
I realized that in essence, I was riding on her charming coat tails but I didn’t care. I was still in the process of building up my own confidence and having a little extra help was just fine by me.
Do you really need someone else’s credentials?
Just like Rachel, there are those in your industry who are accepted as gurus. Like Rachel, whenever they attend an event, they have a small army of people who vie for their attention. These people would likely pay good money to be recognized by such gurus, thinking it gives them credibility.
But do you really need their credentials?
This is an important question, especially if you’re in the stage of just getting started with your own business. There are many gurus who claim to hold “secrets” that not many people know about but they’ll be willing to sell them to you for a few grand.
Some are telling the truth. They do have secrets and it’s worth paying for the privilege of knowing them. But others only share “secrets” you could have easily found in a book.
The bottom line is that it’s tempting to think that by association, you’ll also be seen as an expert. But rarely does it work that way, if ever.
Most of the time, your prospect won’t have any idea who these “gurus” are and it won’t make a smidgen of difference. What they’re looking for is someone who has a good grasp of their challenges and has a solution.
They’re looking for someone who is confident in their own abilities to solve that problem and who can give them assurance they can do the job.
Are you good enough?
When asked by Charlie Rose what kind of advice he’d give to aspiring comedians, Steve Martin said people usually didn’t take his advice but what he always told them was this:
Be so good they can’t ignore you.
That’s the secret. You don’t need the credentials of some guru to be good. You can visit your local library and find many books that can help with your training. But the rest of it is good old-fashioned hard work.
It takes concentrated effort over time to become good at something. And that takes discipline. These aren’t popular ideas. Many want a quick and easy route toward success. Yet if they apply themselves to learning their craft thoroughly and mastering the basic principles, these same people would be amazed by the results.
Your prospect recognizes quality. When you’re able to prove that you know what you’re talking about, it reassures them. You most likely know more than what you think you do and you can definitely build upon that with those who don’t know as much.
The world is looking for originality. If you depend too much on someone else’s credentials, there is the good chance you’ll look like a dozen others who also are “credentialed.” Where are the differentiators that make you stand apart from your competitors?
Instead, focus on your strengths and develop them. Get so good at what you do that people can’t ignore you.
You don’t need the rubber stamp of someone else’s name. The next time the question of “are you good enough” comes to mind, remember — you are unique in your own right and have a blend of skills and talents like no one else. All you need to do is sharpen the tools in your toolbox.