This just in: Merriam-Webster just announced their word of the year is “gaslighting.”
The word “gaslighting,” defined as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage,” was chosen as the word of the year for 2022 because it has become the “favored word for the perception of deception,” securing a 1,740% increase in searches this year.
There are two very important reasons I want to bring this to your attention.
First, YOU have to be VERY selective about choosing your own sources of influence and information.
YOU are being “gaslit” (is that a word?) on a daily basis and have to be hypervigilant about where you get information and who you allow to influence you – and I’m not just talking about political news. Specifically, I’m talking about where you go to get advice and make critical decisions about your IT services business.
I’m constantly amazed at the advice being sought by MSPs on sites like Facebook and Reddit. Adults, running an IT services business, who should know better, are asking important questions and seeking advice from anonymous strangers, about whom they have no knowledge regarding that person’s background, track record of success, experience and motives. And believe me, LOTS of unqualified people are aggressive in their opinions, without any basis in FACTS when asked a question.
One new member, a small MSP generating under $500K in business, admitted to going on Reddit frequently because “despite all the hate, there is some good advice up there.” I asked him this: Would you feel good about YOUR doctor, financial advisor, lawyer or any other critical advisor under your employ going on a social media site rife with KNOWN fake, anonymous users and propaganda plants to get advice on the services they are delivering to you? Does that give you the warm ’n’ fuzzies? Does that build confidence in the services they are performing for you? No, he says. Of course not.
There’s a reason why our parents wouldn’t allow us to hang out with certain kids.
Today, good parents monitor what websites, videos and social media sites our kids go on. Why? Because we KNOW that these sites are pits of venomous snakes and no one is strong enough to overcome the negative influence they foster. No one.
If you’ve been a client of mine for some time, you know I despise Reddit for this very reason, and I got off Twitter a long time ago for the same. Both are playgrounds for the most vile, bitter, cowardly and blackhearted skin sacks breathing, combined with an unknown number of bots and fake accounts that are PAID by companies to spread misinformation about competitors.
This is NOT just my personal preference and opinion, but a FACT. My professional advice to clients for years – get OFF these platforms, period. Just search on “fake accounts” regarding Reddit, and multiple articles will come up about the founder ADMITTING they created “tons of fake accounts,” and these fake accounts were the “key to building the tone” they wanted for the site.
As an MSP, with your knowledge of the dark web, you should not be shocked to know that “trolls for hire” is a booming shadow industry. An article in the New York Times sums it up: “They sow discord, meddle in elections, seed false narratives and push viral conspiracies, mostly on social media.” This is NOT just for politicians, but also for companies wanting to destroy their competition or promote their own products and services – and yes, this is definitely going on in our industry as well, on these sites where “advice” is given and rumors are spread.
If you have any honest ambition to scale your business and secure greater profits and higher-value clients and to make better decisions, you should not trust – or even waste your time – in reviewing content and opinions given in online forums…but ESPECIALLY by anonymous users.
And one final “P.S.” on this. If you think you’re mentally and emotionally strong enough to withstand the negative influence these platforms have on you, or that it won’t affect you, take a minute to watch this video on YouTube about how mind control works. No one is strong enough to overcome the influence of a repetitive message or image. No one.
Second, a MARKETING lesson: TRUST is now a supreme competitive advantage for MSPs.
You don’t need me to tell you that we are living in a very UNTRUSTING world. Many of your prospects have been burned, grossly abused and disappointed by countless other vendors – so the single biggest advantage you can give yourself in the marketplace right now is to become THE MOST TRUSTED advisor to your chosen target market and in your category. TRUST is eclipsing ALL other differentiators because, without trust, nobody is going to buy from you, regardless of how much “better” your services are, how big your company is, how well funded, organized, staffed, etc.
The good news is that even small MSPs can compete on this ground with the big guys. If you are more trusted than your competition, you’ll easily secure more premium clients for yourself, even if your competition is cheaper, bigger or more well-funded. There is NO BETTER advantage you can have – but trust must be strategically manufactured.
You don’t automatically get trust from the marketplace by simply doing the right thing and providing value.
That’s EXPECTED by the marketplace as a minimum for being in business. Many MSPs make the mistake of thinking that all they have to do is the “right thing” and a “good job,” and the marketplace will automatically trust them and beat a path to their door – those same MSPs are infinitely frustrated because they are NOT rewarded for their good behavior by the marketplace.
That’s because people get to trust in nonlogical – dare I say “foolish” – ways. If you attempt to establish trust purely by a logical argument, you’re handicapped. That’s because trust is an emotion triggered by nonlogical information and means.
Now, a shameless, overt plug: this year at Boot Camp, my “seminar in a seminar” session is going to be focused on a completely NEW and updated deep dive into how to manufacture trust and use it as a strategic advantage over all competitors, preserving margins and attracting more HVCs (high-value clients) for your IT services business.
Right now tickets are available for our annual conference happening in April. This sells out every year so if you want to attend click the button below for more information.