Owners, CEOs and salespeople can often be so passionate about what they do and what they want to achieve for their customers that they become distracted, losing perspective on what is really going on and what is actually being delivered to clients. This ‘reality gap’ could have a long-term, detrimental impact on a business’ ongoing success.
Let’s illustrate this. A research study by Bain & Co. of 375 selling organisations, showed that 80% of companies thought they were delivering a superior value proposition to their clients. However, when Bain & Co asked buyers the same question,
“Only 8% of buyers agreed they received the level of service these companies believed they delivered”
So how does such disconnect occur? It’s called The Curse of Knowledge. Simply put, the curse of knowledge comes about when other people who do not share your knowledge do not see things the same way as you.
An interesting study from Stamford University in 1990 reveals this disconnection between what we “know” and “believe” to what is reality. The researchers created a simple game. They assigned people to one of two roles: “tapper” or “listener.” Each tapper was asked to pick a well-known song and tap out the rhythm on a table, e.g. “Happy Birthday to You”.
The listener’s job was to guess the song.
Over the course of the experiment, 120 songs were tapped out. The result –
“Tappers predicted a 50% success rate. Listeners got a 2.5% success rate”
Why? Those that were tapping the songs already knew which song it was and could hear the song in their heads whilst tapping. Thus they were biased, believing the answer was obvious, and unable to comprehend why so few people would guess incorrectly. Of course, the group listening was just hearing a series of discordant and therefore mostly unidentifiable taps. It’s the Curse of Knowledge and it can affect sales, marketing and service departments.
When we know the benefits of our products and services we deliver, and believe single-mindedly in what we want to achieve for our customers, it is possible to become blind to the reality of what we actually deliver.
Is this silent profit killer happening in your business?
At eccoConsultants when we begin working with clients we often start by taking a broad look at your business with a set of independent eyes. We call it ‘Testing the Kool Aid’.
It’s often easier to see gaps from the outside.
The application of ‘Testing the Kool Aid’ is not limited to the disconnect between the service provider and the buyer. It can exist in other ways inside your business. For example, between what Management and HR believe is being delivered as employee experience and the culture of the organisation to what staff are experiencing and feel. Between, how Management believes its systems and processes work, to what staff must do to do their jobs.
Are you seeing high client churn or low NPS?
High staff turnover and low engagement rates?
Is it time you Tested the Kool-Aid!
About the writer. Garreth Bohanes is a Senior Consultant and Advisor at SME Business Advisory firm – eccoConsultants, business wealth builders for businesses from $5M – $100M. Garreth represents the WEST point of our business compass – SALES. He has a reputation as a ‘Difference Maker’ from over 30 years producing profitable and dynamic businesses in the IT and Oil Industries. Garreth can make a valuable difference to the culture, sales team, customer experience, business improvement and profitability within any business. Garreth can assist through a range of consulting services, from analysing the state of health of your sales and delivery teams, acting as virtual sales manager/director for your business and sales team. Garreth also provides personal coaching and mentoring services for the sales person or sales leader wanting to take the next step in their career and is available for speaking engagements.
Reach Garreth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 0401 984 241
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