Jill Konrath, sales guru extraordinaire, wants to know if you’re making the right sales assumptions.
Back in 2017, she and colleague Dianna Geairn of The Irreverent Sales Girl mused about their big wins and how underlying sales assumptions were critical to success. They listed some 17 (!), of which I’ve chosen seven personal favorites. For the rest, go to the post, which is a less-than-five-minute read.
The header for each of these assumptions comes directly from Ms. Konrath’s post. The content under it is paraphrased, and I’ve added some comments, too. (Ms. Konrath, by the way, is an excellent writer, which is another reason to read the original post.)
Assume everyone is overwhelmed
Boy, is that ever true! So, as Ms. Konrath says, “Minimize complexity.” My former sales manager Bruce Cartier used to say, “Boil the fat out of it.” If it’s not “relevant, actionable, and valuable,” leave it out.
Assume it’s your responsibility to pique curiosity
Get creative. Try different ways to get your prospects to ask for more info.
Assume prospects want to deal with experts
Differentiate yourself from competitors by demonstrating genuine familiarity with a prospect’s business, industry, challenges, etc. My thought: These days, so many potential buyers are doing their own research, that they may feel like experts in your product or service before they ever talk to you.
Assume responsibility when you fail
Argh. This one may make you grind your teeth, because assuming responsibility is just plain tough. But Ms. Konrath and Ms. Geairn suggest that you analyze what you could have done differently. “If you don’t learn from your mistakes you’re guaranteed to repeat them.”
Assume prospects will struggle to get buy-in
Potential buyers deal must contend with influencers, the folks in purchasing, fractious users, etc. And that can slow or stall a sale. So help your prospects with the tools they need to move a deal forward. If they view you as a trusted expert, they will listen to what you have to say.
Assume buyers won’t remember anything
Too true. Our brains are jammed with information, and too many of us are trying to multitask. So follow up any contacts with a summary of key points and next steps. Your prospect is bound to be grateful, and you stay top of mind.
Assume your contact will leave the company, get downsized or go on an unexpected medical leave
This bears repeating. And not just for salespeople. If you’re in any kind of consulting or service delivery, you’re essentially in sales. It’s never a good idea to rely on a single relationship in an account, just as it’s not a good idea to rely on a single client for business.
As the old saying goes, “assumptions make an ass of you and an ass of me.” Here, though, sales assumptions are like gold, because they’re based on truth instead of faith and hope.