Don’t assume anything. That is what we preach and teach at InsideSelling.org.
In fact, assumptions are one of the major reasons for sales being delayed or dropped. Below is a list of 3 common assumptions made by sales individuals that lead to loss in revenue.
Assumption 1: The prospect knows what he wants
Yes, the market is competitive and prospects are becoming aware of products and services like never before.
Having said that, not every prospect truly knows what he needs. In some cases, prospects are looking to replicate a solution they have been recommended or have come up with through a Google search.
Assume nothing and simply ask the prospect what he needs and most importantly build a business case.
It is your job as a sales individual to coach a customer to implementation best practices along with selling him your product/service.
You may also come across prospects that are ticking features off a check list, treat them no differently and try to understand the business case. In the end, the customer should see the solution for what it is: a problem solver.
Assumption 2: Offering discounts can hasten the sale or close it
“Mr. Prospect, we are running a special promotion. If you purchase this solution before the 15th of this month. We can offer you a 5% discount. How does that sound to you?”
Sound familiar? If you have ever tried that, you will find that it is pretty much hit and miss. Prospects become customers when they want to or are compelled too by a need.
A good example we share at InsideSelling.org is: giving a prospect a 10% discount will not make him add 5 more seats than he really needs. So why would you assume that it will help him see more value in your product?
Yes, throwing in the discount does do the trick, but in rare circumstances. In some instances, it might actually hurt your sale. How? It might make you look desperate and the prospect can ask for more. A slippery slope indeed.
Assumption 3: One method of selling works for every type of sales process
This is probably the biggest myth in inside sales team we have come across from our past experience.
While the saying ‘Once a salesman always a salesman’ is true.
The saying does not offer the whole truth.
For example, selling a service to a prospect is a different ball game then selling a product. Both come with their own set of challenges and advantages.
Most sales individuals feel miserable when they switch jobs but don't unlearn.
We strongly recommend starting from scratch when you switch jobs/products. It is important to unlearn.
No matter how much experience you have, start from scratch. First understand your prospects, their buying journey, challenges and how your product fits in. Once the process is clear, you can then bring in your sales expertise to nurture and close business.
To sum up, no matter how obvious you feel a point is in sales. Don't assume anything. Ask and the truth will prevail.