We have all heard the popular saying about the perils and risks when you assume, and for the most part sales people are much less likely to make assumptions about prospects, their situation and motives. But there is a type assumption that many sales people make hat is still costing them sales, or causing them to be much longer than they should be, which in itself brings risk.
The risk is when sales people assume that the buyer understands and defines many of the words that sales people use in the same way that the sales rep actually meant. This is even more the case and the risk, with words that are used commonly in different professions, and for the wrong reason.
Take words like solution and value. Having sat in on many sales meetings, I have seen a large number of them fail because of assumptions the reps have made about how the buyer views specific processes and products; assumptions about how the buyer defines value; assumptions about what a buyer may or may not be willing to do and invest in to address a specific situation.
Many brilliant sales calls ended up in no next step because the sales rep failed to take the time and effort ensure that the buyer’s points of reference were the same as the sellers. When you spend much of your time with people who are using the same points of reference as you, that is your fellow sales people, product, marketing and other people in your company. Add to that the fact that your competitors are using the same words to describe the same things you and your gang do. It is easy to believe that everyone defines things as you do, everyone uses the same words or phrases you do. But they don’t.
One example revolved around “document management” a number of industries and products proudly ware the label. In any given meeting you can find that someone sees it the way that you do, while in the next someone in a similar role will see it differently. Unless you take the time to understand you are at risk of clicking with one, and alienating the other.
This is a shame, because with a few well placed questions, and a bit of patience, and abandoning basic assumptions, both sales could have gone well rather than just the one where the assumptions were right.
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