Market corrections and due diligence will take care of that. Meanwhile, since you need to get a project done and need to enroll help with it, what do you do?
Well, it's easier than ever to spot a fake. Here's what you do.
(1.) Their references lack sufficient authority to be credible - most people can find a few professional allies willing to say good things about them. Vet these. Are they in a relevant field? Do they have any particular accomplishment or expertise? Have they ever paid your expert for services, and were they satisfied with the results? Sort the qualified endorsements from the puffery, and see what is left over.
(2.) Limited accomplishments in their stated field - there are professionals who provide their services on a confidential basis, but most self-professed experts should be able to point to personal achievement in their specialty. If your SEO expert has an unranked website, ask why.
(3.) No evidence of a long-term commitment to their discipline - there are prodigies, but these are the exception. Most experts learned their trade with concentrated effort and practice over a period of time. If you see evidence of unrelated professional activities is the recent past, dig deeper.
(4.) Unwilling to explain positions when challenged - this indicates arrogance, impatience, or a lack of deeper knowledge.
(8.) Magic bullets - real experts know that success is gritty - the result of singular dedication to a goal, superior work ethic, and doing the basics right on a consistent basis. There are very few magicians out there. Beware those who claim to have a single technique, product, or service that will radically change the nature of your business.
(10.) Leading questions are the only kind of leading they're familiar with - these are especially interesting when the subject professes to be conducting research.
While any true expert might fall short on one or two of these, you might consider them warning signs and dig deeper if something doesn't sit well with you. Do your due diligence and find out if there is a fit with your desired objectives and business outcomes.
Asking questions is the best way to start a conversation and in no way it's an indication of lack of trust. Trust is the new transparency and credibility is built through work and proof. Your best ROI starts with selecting the right team for the job. Remember that this also applies to you.
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.