Knowledge is Power…Until It Isn’t

Knowledge concept

“Knowledge is power” is a phrase attributed to two primary writers.

King Solomon, writing in the mid-fourth century, penned these words, “The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength.” (Proverbs 24:5). Solomon was basically saying, (the right kind of) knowledge is power.

Sir Francis Bacon (mmm, bacon…ok sorry), penned the phrase “ipsa scientia potestas est” (‘knowledge itself is power’) in his writing, “Meditationes Sacrae” in 1597.

I know from the rest of Solomon’s writings, and I can only assume based upon Bacon’s writings, that this phrase was never meant to intend that ALL knowledge is power. I mean, who really wants to be called a “know-it-all”? From the above, we can deduce that the right kind of knowledge is power, but the wrong kind of knowledge creates a whole host of problems. So where am I getting at being that this is a blog on sales and business? Right here.

Salespeople are often defined as “know-it-all’s” or better yet, “think-they-know-it-all’s.” Think about a couple of the following situations and being honest, see if you can place yourself in them.

You walk into a sales presentation with guns ablazing. You know everything you need to throw at the prospect in order to close the sale. Your presentation is all dialed in, you have your notes completely prepared, and you have left no stone unturned. Then you don’t get the deal. Do you think maybe you went in with a “know-it-all” attitude and missed something that was important to the prospect because you didn’t ask questions, thus losing the opportunity for a sale?

– or –

You are offered the opportunity for growth by sitting in on sales training, or even just a small suggestion from a fellow colleague. But instead of paying full attention, even taking notes, and finding ways to use those new tools and tips in your process, you go back to the way you have always done things, only to continue with the same level of success you have always have, wherever that may be.

Look, it is wonderful to know a whole lot about what you do. I am a firm believer that you should be an expert in whatever field you are a salesperson for. But being honest, there is ALWAYS more to learn. We never stop growing and when we do, we have either failed or died. Here are some practical steps to grow in your sales efforts.

  1. Learn everything you can about the technical aspects of your business. If there is new technology to be had, or a new way to do things, research it online and take courses if possible. Even if you do not choose to adopt it, you are wise to it and can sell successfully in an environment that is adopting it.
  2. Find colleagues that are successful an ask a boatload of questions. Trade best practices. You can learn a lot from other people in your industry and/or position and those things could help take you to the next level.
  3. Find ways to grow as a salesperson. This can be by reading a great book (I recommend ANYTHING by John Maxwell), taking an online course (here is one I am offering), or hiring a sales coach (let’s set up a FREE consultation).

The right kind of knowledge is power, but being a know-it-all actually demonstrates weakness, and when you sit before a prospect or a client that sees it, you will be devoured. Don’t let it happen.

Have a great week!

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