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EG59: Curse of knowledge

Written by Emanuel Martonca
on July 25, 2022

Information is power, or at least this is what we all seem to believe.

You might think that knowing more about a topic than your customer would thus be a good thing.

My experience with selling software services taught me the opposite.

What is special about selling software development services?

Each project is unique.

The technology stack is a unique combination of frameworks and tools.

The process is slightly different from the previous project.

The domain knowledge required might be different than on other projects.

And, most importantly, the client is different from other projects. Which comes with its unique set of challenges.

The curse of knowledge

You are talking to many different customers, potential clients and prospects every week.

Maybe you have been doing this for years. You might even have 15-20 years of experience in the industry.

The main buyer on the customer side is someone who is buying software services once every few years. For some buyers, it might be the first time in their life choosing a vendor for software development.

Even if they are in a position which requires them to work with multiple vendors at the same time, the actual process of buying, starting a new relationship, will be something that happens less often than you might think.

Do you see the problem here?

For every word you say in conversations with your buyers, for every paragraph you write in an email, for every slide you put in a sales presentation, there will be an asymmetry of information.

There is a very high probability that you and your team will know more about the topic than your buyer.

This is where the curse of knowledge comes into play and has a negative effect on your pricing and sales outcomes.

The curse of knowledge is what happens when better-informed people find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed people.

If the main objective of your conversations with your buyers is to establish value, it matters a lot if how and what you tell them is properly understood and processed.


Read about the curse of knowledge.

Think about it at every step in the sales process and find ways to minimize its negative effects for you.

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