webpage I’m always explaining to people that good selling is not rocket science…….and its not! It’s about doing the simple things right! Like qualification and research!
take a look at the site here One of the biggest mistakes a sales person can make during the course of the sales process is to make assumptions. If there is one thing that kills a sale quicker than a ‘spending freeze’ it is making an assumption which ultimately proves to be wrong.
Two areas where this is more prevalent than anywhere else is with existing customers and delivering the value proposition.
Let’s talk about existing customers first. Easy money, right? Wrong! Or at least not necessarily right! Yes they are a returning customer, yes you have a good relationship, yes, you are in prime position, but all of that can easily disappear when you start to make assumptions and the most common one, relates to stakeholders and the key decision maker.
I hear it all the time…..”John has been making the decisions around here for the past 3 years, so John will naturally make the decision on this deal”
Unbeknown to you, John is not the decision maker for this deal and you are now chasing the wrong hare and by the time you realise your mistake, your competitor has already built a great rapport with the true decision maker. Your assumption could have just cost you deal.
This is basic qualification and the golden rule is simply……there is no such thing as a returning customer! Treat ever deal as though it were a new deal, even if you have been dealing with that company for the past 10 years. If you don’t, and you don’t do your qualification thoroughly, then you WILL make assumptions and it COULD cost you the deal. Do you want to take that risk and open up this great account to your competition?
Another area where sales people make assumptions is when they are delivering their value proposition to a key stakeholder. I had this one a few weeks ago on my Business Outcomes sales class……….the key stakeholder was the Facilities Manager and most value propositions were around cost savings, particularly around saving real-estate costs.
Fair assumption…as reducing real-estate costs is indeed a key priority for most Facilities Managers today, but it’s probably not their number one objective. For example, with a little bit of research, you will see that Employee Productivity and Employee Satisfaction are key metrics on which a lot of Facilities and Real-Estate Managers are now measured on and if you march right in there and start pitching on how your solution is going to help reduce their real-estate costs, you might just be shooting left of field.
Don’t talk to your key stakeholders about what YOU THINK they might be interested in; do your research and talk to them about what THEY ARE interested in.
More worryingly most sales people don’t realise that making assumptions is the reason why they have lost the deal in the first place…..because they haven’t asked the right questions (and I’ll leave that one for another article!).
Do your research, qualify your deals, don’t make any assumptions along the way – work on fact only, and you will find that your customers will be happy and your competition probably won’t be!