One of the biggest mistakes many salespeople make is to assume. To believe that something is true without any verification, validation or evidence. In the area of the spiritual this is accepted practice and can be a healthy way to go through your life. In your sales career it can be the kiss of death. Assumptions are lethal. They give you confidence without any proof. They can set you up for disappointment, failure and at the worst breakdowns in communication.
I have heard the following more times than I can remember.
- that I was talking with the decision maker.
- they meant it when they said they would call me back.
- they understood the benefits of our product/service.
- they didn't have a problem with our price.
There is only one way to determine what your prospect or customer;
Does not like
And that is to ask them. Assuming vs. asking will guarantee a setback almost every time in your sales career. Asking, while you may not like the answer as least you are working from a position of knowledge and not uncertainty or unknown.
During the past several years no fewer than twenty-five of my weekly sales tips have focused on some aspect of the ability or need to ask good questions. If you want more information on this subject, my best selling book, Soft Sell, has an entire chapter dedicated to probing and asking questions. Or you can order my new special report Sales Success it's all in the Questions. This 25 page document shares everything you need to know to integrate this critical technique into your sales approach. It is only $8.00 and I can email it to you as an attachment if you would like to order it. Just give me your order details by email and I'll get it right off to you.
Many salespeople are great at probing and asking questions when they are trying to determine the status or circumstances of a new prospect. However, many stop this probing once they get an affirmative or confirmation that the customer is buying. Let's say your prospect says, "Yes, we want to place an order now." Do you stop asking questions or do you assume a yes is a yes and a now means now?
Let me ask you,
- Have you ever lost a sale that you thought was in the bag?
- Had to start all over again with a new contact at your prospect's organization for any reason?
- Had a sale close in two years when you thought it would close in two months?
Most of the really successful people in sales that I know or have known are or were not geniuses. Many of them are not even very smart and some are downright stupid. But, all of them have two things in common:
1. They are ruthless in the pursuit of information through questions.
2. They constantly invest in gaining increased and improved knowledge of the sales process.
Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That's Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com.