Being viewed as knowledgeable in your field is a goal we all strive for
Whatever your chosen career path, I bet that your goal (besides earning a living of course), is to be seen as knowledgeable in your field. Hell, if we get real honest, I’d wager that most folks want to be viewed as the “go-to” person.
But, in our quest to be knowledgeable, are we coming across as an arrogant, know-it-all asshole?
Are we sacrificing our ability to relate to others who may not be as knowledgeable? And when I say others, I’m specifically talking about the people who write our paychecks- our customers.
Here’s a real life case study for you
In a recent post, I related the story of a customer who did not realize that hitting a deer was NOT an at-fault accident.
Now, if you’ve been in the insurance biz more than about 20 minutes, you’ll know that hitting an animal is NEVER an at-fault accident.
In fact, if you’re an agent and hear this question, your first instinct may be to laugh out loud . You may even sneer or shake your head in amazement. Because WE KNOW THE ANSWER. Doesn’t everyone?
Um, apparently not.
And that’s my point- if it’s your field of expertise, you better damn well know the answer. But if it’s not your field? Then you should not be expected to know the answer, nor made to feel stupid for asking the question. That’s where a lot of “knowledgeable” people fall dow
I posted a link to this post with an insurance group on LinkedIn- I’ve always been able to get some great conversation going with this group.
One of the first comments I got was this:
“The deer is incapable of cognitive responsibility. It is an animal. It is a no fault occurrence. Get real.”
The “Get real” is what threw me. It’s tough to gauge tone from the written word, but quite honestly, it read as insulting.
Yes, we insurance folk already knew the answer. But the customer did not.
And if we decide to be a jerk and laugh at the question, what have we truly gained?
- To make them feel stupid?
- To discourage them from asking future questions?
- To shut down ALL communication?
- And perhaps the worst of all, loss of their business?
Because if someone consistently makes you feel like a dumbass, how long will you stick around?
We’re all knowledgeable about something
But we’re all equally dumb about much, much more. Yes, even YOU.
In the contest between knowledgeable and know-it-all, who do you think the winner is?
The people who answer our questions without making us feel dumb for asking, that’s who.
They will win the business EVERY. TIME. In fact, at my shop, Alan Galvez Insurance, we pride ourselves in polishing this skill. Yes, we’ve heard the question probably a million times already, but the customer has not. Sneering, jeering and domineering just ain’t gonna cut it you know?
This is truly a classic example of putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. In fact, it’s a great example of showing *gasp* empathy as well (say it isn’t so…..)
People do business with people they like. And if you’re a pompous ass, well then, that seems pretty unlikeable to me.
You can communicate your knowledge, skill, expertise, etc. without being a total dick about it. Promise. In fact, I think that’s what separates the true professionals from the wannabes.
Does this story ring true with you? I see this “syndrome” a lot in insurance. Big words, intimidating attitude and a healthy side of disdain/condescension really impresses potential customers, right? Ever happened to you? Or do you have a story to relate where you were made to feel stupid? Sound off……