Have you ever experienced beginners luck, where everything seems to go your way the first time you try something new, or do something you haven’t done in a long time? Every shot goes in the hoop, every puck in the net, every pool shot in the side pocket. Wouldn’t it be nice to have beginners luck all the time? The phrase beginners luck describes the phenomenon when people who are new to something, and inexplicably outperform so-called “experts.” The question is, why does it happen?

One answer is that when you are brand new to something, you aren’t bogged down by all the rules, theories, statistics and techniques that may churn through your head when you are an age old veteran and still trying to perform at peak level. When you are the veteran, don’t you hate when some newbie comes in and just starts cleaning up the place and winning everything in site? Well rest assured, in most cases of beginners luck, the luck will eventually fade away and reality will settle in, bringing the new top performer down to earth. This is especially true in sales.

In the selling world, we like to call the beginner stage, the “dummy stage”. Beginners luck usually runs out and performance becomes anything but consistent. However, if done right, you can harness the dummy phase, and use it to your advantage, something we like to call “The Dummy Curve”The Dummy Curve is a process, or a progression from dummy to professional, but keeping the effective tools from the dummy stage to enhance your honed skills in the professional stage. Many of the “dummy” qualities are charming and disarming to the prospect, if used wisely and without being obvious. The trick is to harness the useful dummy qualities and become more reliable and productive as you grow into a sales professional.

MEET LT. COLUMBO

So you can see what I’m talking about in action, here’s an example we often use in our training to explain this concept. Way back in the 1970s and ’80s, there was a TV show about an LAPD detective named Lt. Columbo. His character was a seemingly bumbling detective who had a way of being vulnerable and disarming during his discussions with murder suspects. They always ended up underestimating him. Check out some YouTube samples of Columbo using his most famous line, “Just one more thing”: