One Way To Spot The Modern Day Snake Oil Salesmen

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Day 12 in the 100 blog posts in 100 days challengeI like to think most people I meet are genuine and honest. But it would be naive not to realise that, every now and then, someone will try and pull a fast one on you.

Here's one strategy that I use:

If I don't understand what is being said to me I am immediately suspicious.

I think a lot of charlatans use this technique to try and hoodwink people. They say a lot quite quickly, and often articulately, and with confidence, to try and persuade you of something. But you don't quite grasp it and it's hard to say "I don't understand", because you don't want to appear stupid.

And that's what the con artist is relying on.

That's the technique that was tried on me when I first applied for a mortgage. The 'consultant' was throwing lots of facts and figures at me and using lots of jargon I didn't understand. And ended with "... you know endowment policies really are the smart choice"

It sounded like a bit of a gamble to me, and I didn't understand how he was trying to justify it. So I chose not to believe him and said I'd prefer the regular repayment option. (Thankfully!)

Then he said "oh, I think I just blinded you with science."

Well, no you didn't, you just tried to bamboozle me with BS.

Being a fan of science I really didn't like that statement. Science is a methodology for trying to find the truth, what he said had nothing to do with the truth.

So whenever I am in a situation like that I will always say I don't understand, if I don't. Because, as Albert Einstein said: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". And I would add "or you are BS'ing". Either way I'm not going to buy it.

What strategies do you use?

Website development daily time-sheet

My routine today

4 hours 9 minutes Research: Having a look at what's available on; reading other #100 blog posts; MODX; lead pages; link profiles.
2 hours 44 minutes New client project
2 hour 05 minutes
33 minutes Twitter + links from there
11 minutes Email
12 minutes Brainstorming about a project.

Total: 9 hours 58 minutes

Struggled slightly today to get started on a new project, ended up doing quite a bit of 'research' beforhand. Actually spent double the amount of time 'researching' than I did on the actual project! (Though I did discover some useful, practical stuff)

Today's exercise: 45 minutes gardening. God I hate gardening, and it's not very energetic exercise either, but at least it took some effort and got me out into the sunshine.

My goal for tomorrow will to properly get stuck into my new project.

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Mike Nuttall

Author: Mike Nuttall

Mike has been web designing, programming and building web applications in Leeds for many years. He founded Onsitenow in 2009 and has been helping clients turn business ideas into on-line reality ever since. Mike can be followed on Twitter and has a profile on Google+.