If You Have to Tell Someone How Smart You Are, You Probably Aren’t

Dear SBO's,

Come on, come on, come on we all know them. The, “I have 10 degrees and a doctorate”, “….graduated from Harvard, with honors”, “…worked for Google, Twitter and NASA at the age of 13” kind of people. The kind that take seemingly a little too much pride in their accomplishments leaving you to wonder if they have accomplished so much because of their own desires or merely to smear said accomplishments in others faces with the intent to use their induced shame as a pedal stool. And if we are being brutally honest, we’ve all done this at some point in our lives, and loved every second of it.

The problem with stating to others how you want them to view you is that it becomes counterproductive. If you’re like me (and I believe most of my readers are) then you make it a point to surround yourself with like-minded individuals as well as individuals that are light years ahead of you in business, general smarts, or personal growth. Notice how like-minded individuals and individuals that are by definition ‘smarter’ than you are not always the same crowd of people.

Other than the fact that over-sharing is irritating, it generally leaves the listener or customer feeling as if you are hiding something. Why would the real deal need to tell me they are the real deal? It’s like talking to a used car salesman. One instantly puts up a wall of distrust the moment they hear, “This thing drives like it’s brand new”. Now, if a previous customer just so happened to visit the used car lot (maybe they’re there to pick up paperwork they forgot after signing or something) at the same time you are at the car lot and they begin telling you that they bought another car from that lot 3 years ago and it still drives like new, that’s different. Why? Because the salesman isn’t talking up his product, the buyer is. This is the marketing that automation, social media likes, and email campaigns alone cannot give you: pure honest experiences from your core client base.

So How Do We Get There?

Let’s continue with the used car lot scenario assuming that this used car lot is running the business correctly, everything is up to code, and they are avoiding the traditional ‘used car salesman’ approach. For illustrative purposes we’ll name the car lot TM Used Cars (TMUC).

One sure fire way to acquire and retain core clients is to know and thoroughly understand your business’s competitive advantage. Your competitive advantage is the thing you or your business does better than anyone else. It’s what makes you unique. It’s the reason you are in business and why your business continues to prosper year after year. Side note: You don’t have to only have one competitive advantage and you don’t have to have them all at this very moment either. Sometimes you find a hole in the marketplace and realize that there is a way for your business to fill it. In that case, you’d need to develop an advantage. More on this in a future blog post. Here is a simple formula you can use to draft your competitive advantage:

Here are two competitive advantage statements:

TMUC knew that their message to customers and potential customers had to convey their competitive advantage craftily. Their competitive advantage lies in their ability to grantee quality used cars because of the quality of their suppliers and consistently having decorated auto mechanics on staff. Most all of TMUC’s marketing endeavors surround this competitive advantage. TMUC knows that their customer has a preset bias/disposition toward used car lots and thus aims to quell this disposition with their competitive advantage. Thereafter, potential clients turn into actual clients and actual clients turn into happy clients. Happy clients then turn into repeat clients and repeat clients turn into walking marketing ads for your business.

Once you know what your competitive advantage is, your positioning becomes immensely clear. You can envision a plan of attack marketing wise, forging strategic alliances and partnerships a well as developing a concise 2 to 5 year strategic plan for your business.


Knowing your competitive advantage will help steer you away from stating how you want your customers to view you and toward more truth-bearing tactics. However, just knowing your competitive advantage isn’t enough. You’ve got to implement conveying this advantage to customers succinctly.

If you’ve been in business longer than a month then I bet you’ve heard of an elevator pitch. Yep, that 20 to 30 second description of your company that allows an individual to get the gist of who you are and what your company does. It’s the art of mixing the who and the what with just the right amount of how and why.

Now, to make sure you are not simply telling potential customers how you’d like them to envision your company, add elements of your competitive advantage to your elevator pitch. Constantly keep your competitive advantage and elements of your elevator pitch at the forefront of you mind when talking shop and you will rarely go wrong.