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Beware of “Alternative Facts”

There has been a lot of talk recently about ‘ Alternative Facts’, as a result of a comment made by one of Donald Trump’s advisors, discussing a statement made by the White House’s press secretary  describing the inauguration as “attracting the largest audience Orwellever”, which quite clearly was not the case. Indeed the discussion has had the effect of massively boosting sales of Orwell’s classic “1984”, from which the term ‘Alternative Facts’ is derived.

In Orwell’s book, he paints a vision of a future time in which the British Government is overthrown by an authoritarian state that employs propaganda and rewrites history as suited them – the so called Alternative Facts.

Now how often do we actually hear alternative facts in our everyday lives?

As a coach I actually hear them quite a lot!

People want to give a particular viewpoint, so they will give me the information that suits that position.

I once had a client who claimed he was very good at converting a prospect into a customer – He told me his conversion rate was about 85%.

I asked him to prove it!

His actual conversion rate was just 18% – He’d given me an alternative fact!

(Now the great news here is that he had a lot of opportunity to improve his conversion rate and get it up to the 85% without increasing his monthly marketing spend – he had lots of prospects who just weren’t buying from him right now, and with a few minor tweaks we quickly improved his rate, more than doubling it to 42%!)

Earlier this week, I was enjoying listening to Paul Mckenna on BBC Radio 2, discussing “What makes us human”. (you can listen again here) During the programme, Paul quoted Roger Callaghan who said that that anyone who says they have a 100% success rate doesn’t have enough clients. Paul admitted that during his career, he had made mistakes, and he had not been able to help everyone he’d worked with.

Isn’t it refreshing to hear someone talk so honestly like that? To have some openly admit they’ve made mistakes and aren’t perfect.

When you are dealing in your business, think carefully about 2 things:

  1. Is the information you are sharing with your prospects or clients at risk of being seen to be Alternative facts? As a client what would you rather know – the truth? Or the alternative?
  2. What information are your competitors sharing with the market place? Could it simply be smoke and mirrors?

Just remember, there are always alternative facts!

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