Why there might be no cure for ignorant: Part 1

By Trevor Coltham

Imagine attending a training workshop where someone says, ‘What you are saying isn’t relevant to me. I have 30 years sales experience.’

I’m sure you’ve been in a room with a person like this before or you’ve heard the following statements:

“You can’t teach me anything I don’t already know.“

“Yes, yes, I already do that.”

“My customers love me; I don’t need to change anything.”

The salesperson’s CEO mentioned before the session that the company wanted to fire this salesperson for the last 29 years. I wonder why?

Let’s contrast this attitude with a recently hired salesperson. She has substantial sales experience, is open-minded and yet is still keen to learn.

She sits in the workshop attentively, taking notes, asking relevant and well thought out questions. She also wants to discover more by asking for all the referenced book titles, the podcast list and links to the videos shared throughout the two days.

What is the difference between these two salespeople?

Several years ago, I became painfully aware that the more I learned about a topic, the more there was to know.

Initially, I found this frustrating until I re-framed it as an opportunity. I could gain better distinctions and further my ability to share my knowledge with even more people.

Why then do some people overestimate their abilities and avoid taking on new ideas?

Let me introduce to you the Dunning-Kruger Effect

These people form a cognitive bias where they believe they are competent at something, but they actually lack self-awareness that they are incompetent.

The effect happens because there is a false spike of confidence that people have early in the learning process.

If they never explore beyond that early spike, they end up ignorant to the true scope of the field and close their minds to opportunities learn further and develop even better skills.

See the video I created on the right that illustrates this graphically.

If you would like some further assistance with sales leadership you can reach out to SG Partners by clicking here.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.