The biggest blind spot for any company is the ‘curse of knowledge’.
Presumably, our companies are started because we felt so strongly about a problem; a void that we have a unique approach to solving and we do. Doing it over years, make us the experts and arguably so.
With expertise comes the curse of knowledge.
“The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that leads better-informed parties to find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed parties.”
When an entrepreneur approaches us to find outsourcing vendors, she is the 5000th person like her that we are meeting. We know her questions and the answer to those questions, even before she begins to ask.
Give us some more time and we know if she is going to win or lose, at the end of the day, with her outsourcing project. Give us a little more time and we can guess who she’ll be having dinner with, that night (Ok, that creepy stuff we won’t quite know!). But you get the drift, right?
It’s just so easy to know it all and sound like one and totally alienate the customer with our wise aura. It’s easy to slip into the ‘I know it all’ mode.
Trust comes with talking to people about their problems and not talking at them. Every time I get on a sales call now, I tell myself these:
1. The customer is smart; He is just not smart on one topic as I am
2. The customer can find the answers herself. I just need to lead them through those many paths where they can seek those answers.
3. I am a guide and not a colonel.
4. The difference between me and the customer is that I’ve more information than her. I might be none more smart or wise.
The more we realize that our role, the easier it is for us to empathize with and appreciate the nervousness of our customers who are making fairly irreversible commitments related to time and money.