The Business Journals

Lee Salz is a Featured Columnist for The Business Journals.

Three kids begin playing Little League baseball on the same team at the age of eight years old. Each one of them plays in the league until they are twelve years old. Given that all of them now have five years of experience, which one is the all-star?

It seems like some important information is missing. How can you tell who has better skills based on the number of years playing the game? After five years in the league, none of them may be an all-star. Perhaps the kid who started playing at age 11 is a better player than the three who have five years of experience.

While this story’s message is easy to grasp, salespeople err in talking about themselves and their companies in terms of experience. They pitch their 25 years of experience expecting to hit a home run with buyers. They say this as a strategy to differentiate themselves from the competition with an expectation that buyers will hear “experience” and be impressed.

Just like with the ballplayers, 25 years of experience doesn’t communicate anything of value. It means you’ve spent time. It doesn’t speak to your skill mastery.

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