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Curse of Knowledge: How Is It Hurting Your Sales?

Curse of Knowledge in salesCurse of Knowledge is a sales killer. It affects every salesperson who has been in their role for awhile, and learned the "ins and outs" of the business. How does it do that? The Curse of Knowledge means when you know a lot about a subject, it is difficult for you to imagine the issue from a lesser-informed person's point of view.

It also means you get caught up in the bells and whistles--technical features--of the product or service you're offering.

Harvard Business Review explains how the Curse of Knowledge makes it impossible for us to fathom not knowing something once we know it. Since we cannot easily duplicate the other person's state of mind, it is difficult for us to share the idea.

What results does this bring us in selling?

The Problem of the Curse of Knowledge In Selling

I found three spun versions of the same article on tech sales. That's a little odd, but the content of the article is valuable.

In the write-up, a sales trainer describes how "salespeople typically simply list technical facts to potential clients and believe that that’s an effective sales method. Believe me, it isn't.

"The odd thing I notice from a sales point of view is that technology is getting more complicated, rather than — as we’re led to believe — more simplified.

"Consumers are becoming rabbits in headlights, trapped with the dazzle that is technology specification. It is the responsibility of technology salespeople to understand what a consumer wants, remove the dazzle and attend to that critical need, which surprisingly may not be the leading edge of technology."

Can you see how a similar knee-jerk salesperson reaction and effect upon the prospective customer are occurring in your industry?

How To Alleviate the Curse of Knowledge

There are two immediate ways to minimize the effect of the Curse.

First, use the Dummy Curve. Don't leap into features and benefits. When your prospect asks a question, find out why that is important to them--instead of opening up with the barrage of technical data. Unless they are the most serious of gearheads, they won't care about technical features. When a person buys, they don't care HOW you do what you do...they want the results of what you do.

Second, break things down into small steps. When you're explaining something, remember that learning a new concept is often real work! Don't rush.

Being conscious of the Curse of Knowledge is the first step to minimizing it. Remember, they don't know what you know...and to a large degree, they don't want to. They want a solution to their problem. A machinegun barrage of features and benefits isn't going to help them get there.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer. Do you have questions about the Curse of Knowledge? Comment below to let us know! And if you have a friend who would be helped by seeing this information, please Like or Share! Don't forget you can get powerful sales tactics books on Amazon/Kindle right now! <<

Jason Kanigan

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