Fake, Make, Break

“Fake it ’til you make it.”

  • A time-honored saying that once made sense but now is just plain dopey

I’ve been trying to hire a sales pro for almost eight months, and a candidate recently tossed this line out as one way they’d “get by” while learning a complex bidness. The glib attempt at humor didn’t make the candidate’s case, it broke the candidate’s candidacy.

It might have worked in a time when buyers were less aware. It might even work in a pursuit that doesn’t involve understanding strategies and complex business models.

More likely today — it’s “fake it and you’ll break it.” Break the trust you need. Break the deal you’re counting on to make the month. Break the benefit of any work you did to prepare for this moment when you can least afford to break it.

The point? Transparency counts. Buyers come to the game with more knowledge and perceptions than ever before. They may not intend to ask trap questions, but it’s likely that they’re gonna ask a few questions for which they already know the answers.

If we try to fake it, our credibility is shot, our deal is lost and our reputation is sullied. Instead, if we own our knowledge or experience gap, and say, “Great question, I don’t know the answer but I’ll get it for you,” we’re “real,” and probably still in the game. If we say, “Why do you ask?” we may find out that the context prompts something on our knowledge or experience base that gets us back on track.

Let’s don’t fake it. Let’s take it as an opportunity to get better every day, and make a difference.


  1. Steve,

    I was having a conversation yesterday regarding fake it. My words are much less eloquent than your writing. You frame this in a way that is easily digestible. Thank you!

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