Yesterday, Dianna Geairn (The Irreverent Sales Girl) and I were musing about some of our big sales wins. As we talked, we realized that our underlying assumptions—about prospects, our roles and factors that could hinder success—were crucial to our performance.
In very short order, we identified 17 sales assumptions and why making them helps you win more deals. Faster. With less competition.
WHAT YOU MUST ASSUME
Assume everyone is overwhelmed. Focus only on what's relevant, actionable and valuable to your prospect. Minimize complexity.
Assume your prospects are pretty OK with what they're doing now. If they weren't, they'd have already changed. Your job is to help them see why it's worth doing things differently.
Assume prospects don't like change. Crazy-busy people don't want MORE work. Help them envision how your solution will get them to their goals with greater ease.
Assume it's your responsibility to pique curiosity. Experiment with creative ways to get people to say, "Hmm. That's interesting. I'd like to learn more."
Assume your ideal prospects have a lot in common. Leverage what you already know about your customers to ask better questions, deepen conversations and establish credibility.
Assume prospects want to deal with experts. Demonstrate familiarity with your prospects' business, processes, industry, issues and challenges to set yourself apart from the competition.
Assume responsibility when you fail. If your prospects buy from another vendor or decide to do nothing, analyze what you could have done differently. If you don't learn from your mistakes you're guaranteed to repeat them.
Assume 50% of your forecasted deals won't close. (That's about average.) To exceed your goals, ruthlessly inspect your pipeline to eliminate "hope" and fix lurking deal killers. Clear out "dud" opportunities to make room for real ones.
Assume prospects act in their own self interest. If they can't see how they will win by making a change, they won't take the risk. Ask them how they're evaluated. Explore how your product/service helps them achieve their goals.
Assume prospects will struggle to get buy-in. Arm them with the tools they'll need. Prep them about the common obstacles. Help them facilitate change conversations with internal stakeholders.
Assume you'll hit the world's worst traffic snarl on your way to a big meeting. Give yourself ample (2x) time to arrive stress-free. Get there early. Review your strategy. It's the only way to be at the top of your game.
Assume technology will fail. Have Plan B ready to go. Have handouts to support presentations. Prepare to jump on a white board to facilitate a conversation ... Hey! That might even be a better idea in the first place!
Assume people will use devices during meetings. Think about how you'll get them so engaged that they won't want to.
Assume buyers won't remember anything. After a phone or in-person conversation, follow up with a summary of key points and next steps. Take the burden off of them.
Assume your top accounts are at-risk. Bring fresh ideas, insights and information to help your customers achieve their goals. It's the single best way to keep your competitors at bay.
Assume buyers don't know how to buy. Review typical hurdles your customers had to overcome at each phase of their buying process. Ask how "similar" decisions were made—from concept to signed contract.
Assume your contact will leave the company, get downsized or go on an unexpected medical leave. To protect yourself from a shake-up, make sure you have multiple relationships in an account. Never leave your future in the hands of one person.