You may have previously been advised to “Assume the sale”. The implied characteristics of doing so are to speak with confidence and assume you will get the sale as you begin to meet with your clientele until otherwise notified.
However, along with the advice come inherent problems. The #1 error made by most businesspeople is making assumptions. There is a fine line between assuming a sale and assuming thoughts about the client-to-be throughout the sales cycle. In fact, assuming and not asking is usually the cause of losing the sale.
The reason assumptions of “He won’t be interested in…” or any other negative thought will not work is because you lose the inside track of what your clients are truly thinking.
So how do you balance assuming the sale and not making assumptions?
1. Begin the conversation with an open mind.
After the small talk, learn why you were invited in by posing the question. A problem must exist otherwise, you would not be granted the time of day.
2. Lead the conversation.
In logical order ask many questions pertaining to the answer of why you are there. As you receive answers and they stimulate ideas, ask questions regarding the answers received.
This methodology demonstrates you are interested and care about the prospective client’s situation. As you desire to present additional ideas, pose questions such as, “Would you be interested in…?” See where the conversation leads you by continuing the Q&A. Your leadership style will speak volumes on your behalf.
3. Develop likeability and trust.
Should there be a lack of clarity on a particular topic, ask for further explanation. The client-to-be will embrace your honesty and begin to like and trust you. The relaxed conversational style of being curious and offering creative ideas through questions will have you perceived as a trusted partner.
As you develop this enviable position, another phenomena will occur. Your partner across the desk will begin confiding in you. That person will reveal his private thoughts about the company and sometimes even his personal goals. By speaking to his insights privately and with understanding, the size of the sale may well increase in value.
While this all sounds promising, there are still hurdles to overcome in the process. Most prospective clients will want you to prove to them they can trust you completely by asking for information requiring research on your part. They want to know you are reliable and may count on you after the sale is made.
The worst mistake made by most sales professionals is assuming that the tiny piece of information does not play a factor in the scheme of things. WRONG. Portraying professionalism every step of the way including following up with the request in a timely manner as promised is precisely what will secure the sale.
Consider the question “If you assume the sale and know it is yours to keep, then why would anyone take a chance by not delivering on the promised follow up?”
As you develop your unique methodology for meeting with prospects and clients they will take keen interest in you and the personal brand of “trusted partner” that you portray. The concern and care you display will have heads turned and sales more easily made. And the trust you built will serve you well in earning repeat business, referrals and testimonials leading you to a lucrative business or career.
In conclusion, lose the assumptions while assuming the sale and you too will enjoy the Smooth Sale!
For further sales and business development advice, Register for our online Summer Sales School roster of classes.
Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC, (800) 704-1499, was honored by Open View Labs with inclusion in their international list of “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012.” Elinor authored the International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, Sourcebooks and the best selling career book, “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews”, Career Press. She provides team sales training, private coaching and highly acclaimed inspirational keynotes for conferences. Elinor is available for consultation.