You Must Gain The Point-of-Contact Advantage
In a society of markets, institutions, entities, and lots and lots of people, we must interact with others, often in brief points-of-contact.
Salespeople sell things to customers. Customers buy products from companies. Companies hire new employees. Entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors. Police officers question delinquents. Single men and women meet for the first time.
No point-of-contact is ever in 100% alignment. There is always negotiation, persuasion, give-and-take or perhaps even coercion. One party always has the advantage.
An experienced sales rep has the advantage over a customer who’s just learned about this product for the first time. They know every objection to purchasing.
An investor who’s seen hundreds of startup pitches has the advantage over an entrepreneur launching their first company. They know exactly what to ask.
A big company has the advantage over someone who wants to get hired. They’ve done thousands of interviews and how what salary you are likely to agree to.
A beautiful woman is frequently approached by men who want to date her. She’s heard all the jokes.
A police officer knows what to say to scare the teenager who he suspects has drugs in his backpack. He’s spoken to many kids like this before.
The government has the advantage when you pay your taxes. They’ve caught thousands of tax evaders and know every trick you might consider.
The advantage is gained through repetition. The sales rep, investor, hiring manager, beautiful woman, police officer and the government have all been in this situation many, many times.
The uninformed customer, 1st-time entrepreneur, potential employee, shy man at the bar, stoned teenager, or taxpayer has relatively little or no experience.
More examples of Advantaged vs. Disadvantaged are…
Mayweather vs. McGregor in a boxing match
A bank and a small company looking for a loan
A trained military vs. scattered guerilla fighters
Your investment broker and you
A contractor and a homebuilder
A patent troll and a company with a good idea
A licensing company discussing a contract with a 1st-time inventor
Your plumber and you when your pipe breaks
Amazon.com and all the small sellers on their platform
Google Adwords selling ad space to marketers and showing you ads
Cult leaders and their followers
An experienced negotiator vs. someone negotiating their first deal
A divorce lawyer and the guy who’s wife is leaving with half
A college convincing you to go into debt to attend
A farmer and his crops or livestock
It’s the same for nearly all interactions in society, and even for interactions with animals and plants. The one with more experience with this point-of-contact is likely to win. If it’s your first time, you’re likely to be systematically beaten.
Gaining The Point-Of-Contact Advantage
You need to experience that point-of-contact more than the other guy.
This is why sales training, boxing workouts and military exercises help people who need to ‘do’ things better.
This is how governments know which tax loopholes to close and how companies learn what features their new customers will love.
If you don’t have the advantage the solution is to gain point-of-contact experience. This takes effort and time (both researching what’s already known and trying it yourself) but it’s worth it because once you’ve been in a situation more than the other guy, you can practically read the future for this particular situation. You can remain calm and you know what comes next.
If it’s your first time and you’re dealing with people with extensive point-of-contact experience, you will very likely ‘lose’, get overcharged, give in too soon, be easily convinced, feel stress/confusion and make emotional decisions. You rarely get it right the first time.
Knowing this, your Call To Action Today is to…
First: Write out the most common points-of-contact you find yourself in on a regular basis. Which points-of-contact have a conflict of interest? Even situations with similar interests in mind are usually misaligned in some way. (Example: A company wants you to enjoy their product, but you’d like the price lower and they’d rather you bought 10 instead of 1.)
Second: Ask: Is this point-of-contact important? Is it worth investing time into gaining the point-of-contact advantage? If you’re regularly being ripped off or about to enter a point-of-contact that will affect you in a big way, the answer is ‘Yes’.
Third: Purposefully build your point-of-contact advantage by gaining point-of-contact experience.
Talk to many sales reps from different companies that sell a product you want to buy.
If you want startup funding, pitch many investors before approaching your favorite.
If you want a great job, interview at many companies, even some that you don’t really want to work at.
If you want to talk to women in order to find a girlfriend, talk to many women and learn to relax and have fun.
While you can learn about the tax code, don’t try to gain the advantage over government to the extent of tax evasion!
Whatever the point-of-contact is, gain experience in that area to increase your advantage. Write down what works and what doesn’t. Try again using the new knowledge gained.
Experience trumps quick thinking in every point-of-contact situation. Don’t be caught wondering “What’s Next?” when the point-of-contact situation arrives.
In Closing, Remember…
A superb salesman has sold to hundreds or thousands of people, but a knowledgeable buyer is difficult to rip off.
An experienced investor is difficult to convince, but a well-crafted pitch is very convincing.
A massive company knows the typical starting salary, but an experienced worker knows what they’re worth.