News & Research Archive

What do You do when You are Overmatched?

Apr 06, 2009


As salespeople we have a high ego drive, we are also assertive, creative and multi task well.  We usually have a strong idea orientation and can think on our feet well. Typically, our knowledge base is limited in scope. We tend to know something about a lot of things. However, we are not analytic types so we tend not to know most things very thoroughly (although we may think so).

Salespeople work daily with clients that seek and truly need our ability to bounce ideas off of as well as develop quick plans of action. Our clients can be analytic types or types like us, but what happens when you run into that client that you truly know knows more than you do?

Over my twenty five years in sales and management and in my years prior to that playing in politics, I have been fortunate to have known several US Presidents, Governors and Mayors and other elected officials. I have also dealt with many heads of large corporation firms. But with meeting all of these people (most were probably a lot smarter than I am) only three people that I have ever met I felt truly intimidated by and truly unable to communicate at their level.

One attorney client of mine knew more about my business and knew more about buildings than I did but during our tours, it was clear that any topic that would arise would lead to a conversation where I would feel overmatched to discuss or debate. This client has turned out to be a close friend and we have discussed this very topic. This person is clearly able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people, he does not come across full of himself, he simply is thoroughly knowledgeable on a number of topics.

As a salesperson when you run into people like this what is the best approach to consider and still service this client?   Donít get in discussions, ask questions instead. Let your client talk, you listen and learn. There is nothing more that a person with real intelligence likes to do more than educate another. Instead of being the consultant be the driver! Learn to move the deal forward using the direction from your client not creating those directions yourself. You will never be overmatched and your client will appreciate the ability to direct and lead a deal while others are making it happen for them.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 24 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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