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Practice Management > Building Your Business

There’s limit to what you can learn

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Knowing more doesn’t mean you earn more. If you’re like just about everyone else in business, you’ve been slowly coming to this conclusion. You’re probably frustrated, angry and confused in your quest to build more revenue.

So, here are a few things you ought to know:

  1. Style is just as important as substance. Details matter when it comes to negotiation and sales. What you do is important, but how you do it is more important. You can negotiate in a way that can destroy your opportunity for success simply because your style doesn’t work. What you did was right; how you did it wasn’t. Frequently salespeople will comment that if a prospect doesn’t “get it,” it’s not their fault (which really means they lack style). The reality is that with the right style, patience and empathy, pretty much everybody gets it, whether you are selling peanut-butter sandwiches or cancer drugs. Style matters. So take the time to practice until your presentation is smooth and polished.
  2. Anything works if you try it enough times. When it comes to tactics, everything works some of the time, and nothing works all the time. Obviously, there are some things more likely to work than others. Those are the things you hear in training seminars. But the problem is that everything you hear is historic. It worked for somebody else at some point in the past. Which means the moment you heard it, it was outdated. Some of the greatest sales success stories of all time started with people doing things differently. When you do things differently you stand out and get noticed. If you do it long enough and with enough class, people will automatically want to do business with you.
  3. Gray is the new black and white. Not everything you hear is true (despite the wild examples of success and glory that are part of every sales lesson). In business, there is a lot that is gray. People have access to more information now than they’ve ever had. Your prospect’s smartphone is smarter than the entire set of encyclopedias your grandparents possessed. There’s not only a lot more data out there, there are more opinions about that data. More access to information means your prospects can Google and find any opinion they want. If they want to disagree with you, they can find a thousand people on the Internet to back up their gut instincts. Success doesn’t have to be a painful process of learning from one bad mistake to the next. Learning from experience and adding new skills are noble. What you don’t know can hurt you. Just remember that there are a lot of “know it alls” who are broke, miserable and determined to make you that way, too.

Maybe it’s time to start thinking about sales skills a little differently. Maybe it’s time to stop focusing on get-rich-quick strategies. Maybe it’s time to be amazing instead of learning the next amazing tip or trick.

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Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker and author. He is author of the soon-to-be-released Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success. For more information, go to