7 Assumptions – Which Ones to Make and Others to Avoid

We define our reality of a situation based on our past experiences, judgments, internal beliefs and bias. All mixed together and weighed differently, we create our perception. No two realities are the same.

But is our perception of reality true? It’s real? Yes. No one can take away your reality. But what’s real, may not be true. That is the questions we need to consider as we encounter new situations.

Below is a list of assumptions that may be part of our reality, and should be given a second thought to determine if they are true. Be conscious of them as we engage with others.

1) Prospect will only buy from me if I have the lowest price. If the prospect is making their decision on the lowest price, and not dealing in commodities, they are probably not talking to a salesperson, they are probably buying off the Internet. Salespeople add value to the purchasing process. And that is a benefit salespeople often forget when fighting a prospect on price. Prospects mask their vulnerability and lack of knowledge by putting up a front of buying on price. Prospect are guarded and their own skepticism and misconceptions prevent them from being open-minded and learning more about what makes a product different and the impact of that difference to them.

Ask them, “Is it safe to assume you will be making your decision based on the best value and not necessarily the lowest price?” Your role is to help them define value. Their value, not yours.

2) I must be ‘liked’ by my prospect before they will buy from me. Prospects like a lot of salespeople. Salespeople can deliver a lot of free consulting and ideas on how to improve a prospects business without paying a salesperson for their time and service (showrooming). The salesperson they pick to ‘make the change’ and ‘take the risk’ will be the one they most respect. Respect starts with keeping the spotlight on them, asking them high-gain questions and implementing active listening, which will lead to the next question to ask. Move pass being liked and strive to earn their respect.

3) They know what they want. Often the perceived problem the prospect brings you is not the real problem. As they pursue a solution, independent of a professional salesperson, they arrive at a perceived solution to a perceived problem. If you build on that misdiagnoses, you will be committing sales malpractice. Your goal is to align the right solution with the right problem and their goals. If you don’t match the right product to the desired outcome, you will be fixing it later, with a threat to your profit margin and customer satisfaction, not to mention your reputation. Prospects love to share stories with other prospects, more bad than good ones.

4) I know what they want. If you are starting your conversation with the intent of putting them into one of your product, whether it is a fit or not, you may face some resistance to your persistence along the way. Or, when the sales is closed the customer asks, “Why doesn’t it do that?” People buy for their reasons, not yours. Remember: right solutions to the right problems.

5) I can help them. Taking this approach positions you as making a bigger commitment to the results than the person buying the service. In order for a person to buy, they need to accept change. Change is tough. Change is driven by an emotional desire or frustration and is justified intellectually. You may see a solution, but they don’t see a problem.

6) They want my help. You may have proved the prospect has a problem and got them to admit to it, but in the process you forgot to ask them if they wanted your help. They may be thinking of someone else, because of loyalty, or perhaps, your questions opened them up too far, and they feel vulnerable and are embarrassed about working with you. There are two commitment’s prospects need to make in the buying decision. First, do I want to fix it? Second, do I want you to fix it for me? You need both to make a sale.

7) They don’t have the money. Money is related to price. Cost is related to consequences and risk. If the cost is greater than the price, you a have a good chance they will find the money. Cost minus price equals value. If they say they don’t have the money, you have not demonstrated enough value by helping them discover the cost of not making a change or fixing a problem. People buy value. The more value, the more they are willing to pay.

If you want to have greater confidence going into an appointment, making a cold call or attending a networking events, have the mantra; “I don’t want to assume you are having any problems, or that you need my help.” That takes ALL the pressure off of you and places it on the goal of having a conversation with the prospect; where it should be. Through an interactive conversation, the motives will be established. These are real and true buying reasons, defined by the prospect, not by any assumptions.