When Expertise Backfires: How Being an Expert Can Hinder Communication

Real Estate Sales Representative with Royal LePage / Pro Ledger Online Software

When experts have trouble explaining complicated ideas to people who aren't experts, this is called the "curse of knowledge."

In the real estate business, this can lead to misunderstandings, bad communication, and lost sales.

When you communicate with clients, it's essential to remember that they may not share your level of knowledge. They may not understand industry jargon, or they may not know what certain terms mean.

The curse of knowledge can cause you to overlook crucial information that your clients need to know. You might think that certain details are common knowledge, but your clients might not know about them. This can lead to confusion, frustration, and missed opportunities.

  • To avoid the curse of knowledge, it's essential to step back and put yourself in your client's shoes. Try to imagine what it's like to be a first-time homebuyer or seller, and consider what information they need to know. Use clear, simple language, and avoid industry jargon whenever possible.

  • It's also helpful to ask your clients questions to ensure that they understand what you're saying. Example: "Does that make sense?" or "Do you have any questions about that?" This shows that you're interested in their understanding and are willing to clarify any confusion.

Overall, be sure to provide your clients with all the information they need to make informed decisions. Don't assume that they know everything they need to know, and don't withhold information that could be helpful.

The more information your clients have, the better equipped they'll be to make smart decisions about buying or selling a home.

What do you do to prevent the "curse of knowledge"? Share you tips and ideas below.

Comments (4)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thank you for the great information in your blog today to share with us here on the Rain.  Make it a terrific day! bill

Mar 20, 2023 06:17 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Steve - I believe expertise improves as listening increases.  

Mar 20, 2023 06:41 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Steve,

An excellent post because we do have to put our listening ears on, ask questions and determine how much knowledge the buyer or seller has. Often times I find my list of what to expect to take place with any transaction serves as a road map to clients and then can be expanded on through communications.

Mar 20, 2023 06:56 AM
Steve Penner

Hi Dorie, yes good points... certainly can be a big difference between client knowledge, or even client misconceptions that will need to be addressed and unpacked at times.  Questions and listening is a great starting point as you mention. have a great day. steve


Mar 20, 2023 07:02 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Steve Penner , again excellent information.  We can all too easily forget that what we deal with daily is not common knowledge to most.  That is why they need a trained knowledgeable professional, such as yourself, to guide and counsel along the RE Trail.  mdm

Mar 20, 2023 11:48 AM