In the new business landscape, conditions that affect a sale can change rapidly. The general rule for sales departments going forward should be this: Don’t make any assumptions about your clients, except one: customer’s needs are rapidly changing and you need to stay in the loop to remain relevant.
Here are six assumptions that you should never make about your customers:
Don’t assume your customer’s attitudes or your relationship with them remains the same. Rather than make the assumption, you should contact the customer and ask: “How have things been since we last meet?” Listen for clues about what might have changed. Ask for specifics about events or information related to any problems.
Don’t assume that a customer is still interested in your solution. Try to confirm that what you have planned so far is a solution they (personally) are still interested in and willing to engage.
Don’t assume that decision-makers remain the same. Ask your contact if they still have full authority to sign off on the deal.
Don’t assume the decision-making process remains the same. Ask if the same process used still applies to get this deal pushed through.
Don’t assume the commitment of funds remains the same. Confirm that funds are still available and see if additional funds have become available.
Don’t assume that the organization’s concerns are still the same. Ask if the problem they had still creates the same issues, and if your solution still solves the issues.
While questions are the best tools used to avoid assumptions, prospects don’t have all day to answer a barrage of them. Keep your questions short and simple. The more direct your question is, the more concise and unambiguous their response can be. If the response contains known or suspected generalizations, deletions or distortions, ask additional questions.
All buying processes contain patterns, with a little adjustments to the questions, they can be applied to control both short and long buying cycles.
Jeffrey Hansler’s programs focus on skills and perception changes, both are critical to changing behaviors. Jeff is the author of “Sell Little Red Hen! Sell!” which is in eleven languages and has sold over 250,000 copies. He is an expert trainer, speaker, and consultant.