It can be all about the equipment. To the non photographer top equipment meant top gear. Why else would they have it if they are not that good.
People are often impressed that I used to own a PRS guitar. Its a $2300 guitar. Why on earth would I own it if I was not good. But the fact of the matter is I never learned more than 3 cords. I bought it as it was actually a payment/lucky hapenstance. It had nothing to do with knowing how to play.
The same with photography. If I walk in with 4 bodies and 8 lenses.... of coarse I have to be good. The truth may not even be remotley close to that fact. But nobody goes to a sales meeting and admits to being a half a$$ed photographer. They skirt tha fact and wow with gear.
But also.... A good sales man sells on themselves, not their product. They can get pictures from anybody, But they can only get you.... from you. More sales have been made of on aparent enthuasiasm than skills.
LOL! love the PRS reference. I have one too. Custom 10 top 24 fret with the bird inlay. It's beautiful. Emerald green. Sits in a case because I barely play. bought it years and years ago when I was bartending and had more money than I knew what to do with and no bills to pay. I guess I should try to sell it and pick up a lens or two.