Try this exercise:

  1. Think of a well-known person, living or dead. Someone whose abilities and accomplishments you truly admire. Write down the name. I’ll pick Albert Einstein.
  2. Write down what this person is known for. Einstein: Brilliant physicist. Changed our understanding of the universe.
  3. Now, write down some things this person was not especially good at. If you don’t know, guess. Einstein: Didn’t talk until he was three. Couldn’t tie his shoelaces until he was nine or ten. Dropped out of school at 16. Never had his own fashion line.

So who did you pick? Was it someone who was good at everything – an athlete-businessperson-poet-humanitarian-skydiver-comedian? Or was it someone like Einstein, who was good at one thing and lousy at a lot of other things?

Einstein, of course, is the true genius here – and the guy you’d call if you needed help with your science homework.

Some salespeople are afraid to be an Einstein. Instead of selling from their strength and happily conceding their weaknesses, they try to be whatever the customer wants them to be. “No problem. Sure we’re physicists, but we can design a hat too, if that’s what you need.”

Smart buyers see through that ploy in a nanosecond. And they hold it against you. If you say you’re good at everything, how can they know whether you’re good at anything? You gain buyers’ trust when you’re confident enough to admit what you don’t do well.

photo credit: o5com

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