Thinking About Certainty and Doubt

A big pitfall in selling is when we think we have all of the answers. I've heard sales reps tell me they've tried everything with a prospective client or customer. I will ask them, "So, you've tried EVERYTHING?" They usually agree, so then I ask them to tell me all of the things they've tried. This is typically in the context of moving an opportunity forward.

After some hesitation, they will tell me about two or three things they have done. This, I tell them, is not EVERYTHING. We then brainstorm as to what else they might think of that would get an opportunity forwarded, and ultimately to closure.

I thought about dry cleaning this weekend. I was so certain in the past that there was no way you could have a great business wardrobe without ongoing drycleaning. I've made a big shift though, in the last year. Nearly all of my business clothes now are washable - and they look as good as what I used to dry clean.

What are you so sure of - certain of - that possibly you are not looking at all of the potential ideas? If you want more background on this, read Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Blink.