Natural IQ, Knowledge and Work Ethic.

(My daughter Grace, CMU grad at 21 yrs old)

The CEO of Tampa Bay Solar is a retired Navy SEAL, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with Steve Rutherford for the last 5 years. Steve and I were recently discussing success and I left that conversation thinking about some of the factors that either lead to an individual’s success or devolve into failure.

FIRST factor is Natural IQ:

Some folks are just born brighter than others, on the bell curve of human IQ most people are in the 100 to 110 range, with only 2.5% testing over 130 IQ… my daughter Grace was tested in the 140 IQ range as a child, and as she moved through academia she consistently tested in the top 1% of her peers.

School is a breeze for anyone with more computing power.

A human being born with a 70 IQ will operate far differently than a gifted child with a 140 IQ. A higher IQ can be shifted down by drug use or a traumatic injury, but someone with an average IQ will probably always stay in that range.

The 2nd major factor is Knowledge / Experience:

We’ve all met that professional who knows his or her industry in and out, can answer complicated questions, and does really excellent work. I try to learn as much as I can about sales, solar and electric cars in order to be the top deal closer at Tampa Bay Solar.

I’ve been selling for 27 years, so my experience in reading people gives me an advantage over a less experienced sales rep.

My Dad was an engineer at a nuclear reactor in South Jersey, and he knew every inch of that facility. He was skilled at dealing with contractors and union guys (Experience) so he was able to make a good income, especially in the last 15 years of his career.

A few years ago I worked with a young man who could sell, but when I asked him general knowledge questions he knew NOTHING. He thought WWII took place in the 1980’s… he had no idea who fought in the Civil War. I ran into him recently and his level of woeful ignorance has not changed. I’m glad he’s no longer on my team.

Another part of your success is whether your knowledge is relevant to the current technology. A VCR repairman would not make a great income right now… I’m so grateful I got into the solar biz when I did, and I hope to use my knowledge as solar goes up all over the place in the next decade.

The THIRD factor is WORK ETHIC:

This is where someone with an average IQ can differentiate themselves in the workplace: by simply grinding it out and working harder than everyone else.

When I got into the solar biz back in 2017 I went out and knocked 10,000 doors and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in solar.

By working HARDER than everyone else I taught myself the best way to sell solar (knowledge + experience) and I learned to touch on the points that moved my clients and discard the points that didn’t.

The best thing about work ethic is that you CHOOSE to work hard, or not.

An average IQ guy with no knowledge can get ahead by learning new stuff and working HARDER than everyone else.


Consider the High IQ person with no work ethic and no knowledge. Totally useless. Wasted potential.

Or the low IQ individual with NO knowledge but a hard work ethic? They will be great at digging ditches, forever.

This is why seeking knowledge / experience is crucial to success, combined with work ethic.

I was tested as a smart little kid… but then I got that concussion when I was 12…

Today I benefit from my PAST work ethic over the last 5 years because the call-in leads to Tampa Bay Solar go straight to my phone, which helps me close more deals. Some of the call ins are pushed to the team, but if I’m not booked I go see the client myself THAT DAY.

I’m still door knocking, even with 47 years on my odometer. I’m the only rep on the team that does that.

I gotta go close a deal in Tampa this morning!

Ben Alexander

10/ 22/ 21

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