"I don't know which is the best deal on a car for you. That's why I'm going to listen."
When the car salesman took that approach, I was, well, sold. He didn't know everything. And, shock, he was going to listen rather than bury me in slick sales scripts. Although I had come to dealership to browse, I drove out a flaming red roadster. For me, that turned out to be the best deal.
The more I use the phrase "I Don't Know" in my own pitching over the phone and in person the more assignments I get. This has replaced my previous persona of having all the answers, immediately.
Now, it's palpable. I am struggling to identify what the prospect needs. Part of that is asking questions. Part jotting down notes so that I can connect the dots. Part willingness to risk the sale by not proposing the solution but indicating I will get back to them.
Of course, like everything else under the sun, this isn't really new. Practitioners of Zen always understood the power of what that school of thought calls "Not Knowing." In the New Haven Zen Center in Connecticut the guiding teacher trained me in the meditation practice of inhaling using the phrase "Clear Thinking" and exhaling using the phrase "Don't Know." Framing whatever that way gets us off the hook from having to be infallible. We relax. Everything, including our professional activities, goes better.