In the book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell presents an idea that has always stayed fixed in my brain. Gladwell describes the 10,000 hour rule. The concept that it takes 10,000 hours of training to become an expert. These 10,000 hours of experience, studying and training makes you invaluable in your space. The “one” person among many that can “walk the walk” and not just talk, talk and talk some more.
If you are in business to business sales, ask yourself this: do you have 10,000 hours in your craft?
If you answered no, what is your plan to get to 10,000 hours before your competition?
How many books have your read on the best practices of your business?
How many hours of training do you have in your industry?
I recently interviewed someone who has 14 years in sports marketing in the business to business space, which works out to about 28,000 hours in this topic. Crazy, huh?
These hours include:
The hours spent while reading at least 200 books on sports marketing, branding and sales.
The 200 or so training seminars they attended on these respective topics.
The 100 or so speaking engagements this person has given on the subject matter, including preparation and research time.
Plus the 10,000 posts this person has written on these topics, which were posted on numerous blogs (either as the main author or as a guest blogger).
Wow, what an expert!
Now wouldn’t you pay a pretty penny to have this person help you with your sports marketing? The reality of the “numbers of knowledge” is that only about 5% to 10% of people will actually try to leverage that knowledge to get a head start in their field of expertise.
This knowledge seems like a pretty big selling point to me. I know I’ve said this before – reflect upon what you have to offer. It doesn’t always have to be tangible.
Let me tell you what I have learned from studying experts for the last 20 years. Generally, the “best of the best” at communicating about their expertise can give you 75% of what they know in just about 30 minutes. This doesn’t happen because their knowledge is minimal, or that it is not incredibly valuable, but because they have been living, eating and breathing their subject matter for a long, long time.
After carefully listening to you, they can see what is critical for you to know to succeed, communicate what pertains and make absolutely sure you get the most from their knowledge.
I don’t know about you, but I will take a 30-minute exchange for 75% of someone elses knowledge that has 28,000 hours of expertise. Man, doesn’t that make things just a little bit easier?
But, then again, what do I know, I only have 24,000 hours toward trying to figure this out!