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The Dunning-Kruger Effect: Don’t let overconfidence get in the way of growth

Welcome to another edition of Mind Your Own Business. Today, host Jonathan Dawson, founder of Sellchology Sales Training, has prepared a simple exercise to explore The Dunning-Kruger Effect and reveal how it may be affecting your business.

All you have to do is answer the three questions below to the best of your ability without looking up the answers on Google. You don’t have to answer with the exact numbers, but try to choose a reasonable range of estimation. Write down your guesses.

1. How long is the Nile River? (miles)

2. How tall is the Eiffel Tower? (feet)

3. How heavy is the Statue of Liberty? (pounds)

Do you have your answers ready? How precise and confident are you in your answers?

Oftentimes people with limited understanding of a subject, overestimate their own knowledge. You have little to no first-hand experience with all three of these features, yet you feel confident narrowing down your guess to a precise zone. This is called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Typically, the person who has the fewest number of reasons to be confident tends to give the most confident answers. However, the human brain does this psychological principle naturally for all of us, and it could be affecting your business.

Dawson’s point here is that people presume things without really knowing them and that can be dangerous when running a business. Salespeople presume they know what the customer is thinking, even though in many cases, they have no reason to do so. Then, the salesperson starts guessing what the customer’s motivation is for buying a new vehicle.

The reality is, that human perception of what we think we know is often incorrect, and unless we stop and ask questions, we can’t grow. Let’s not guess and find out later. Let’s ask and find out now.

Check your answers:

How long is the Nile River? Click to see answer.

4,258 mi.

How tall is the Eiffel Tower? Click to see answer.

984 ft.

How heavy is the Statue of Liberty? Click to see answer.

450,000 lbs. or 225 U.S. tons.


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Jonathan Dawson
Jonathan Dawson
Jonathan Dawson is an automotive consultant, sales trainer, author, speaker and coach. For 14 years, he has been helping dealerships and sales teams improve sales, reduce turnover and implement effective marketing strategies. His core teaching philosophy is known as Sellchology - Selling through Psychology. This approach focuses on understanding buying behavior and why some sales methods are more effective than others. Salespeople and managers who understand why a technique works become more educated, empowered and effective.

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