Assumptions that can cost you the sale


The unfortunate thing is that many times buyers say yes to put you off and not because they know anything about the product.

Whereas a measure of assumption is inevitable in selling, there are instances where it can cost you the sale. Here are three such.

When opening the sale you ask the potential buyer (prospect), “Have you heard of our new submersible pump?” Ideally, with such an opening it doesn’t matter what the response is. It’s intended to keep the conversation going. The problem is that most sellers anticipate a no, so that they can then proudly spell out the features of their new product and ride on sharing this new insight to make a sale. So, when the buyer says, “Yes, I have” the seller gets stumped or, assumes that it’s true and proceeds to invite purchase. The unfortunate thing is that many times buyers say yes to put you off and not because they know anything about the product. So, even as you progress the sale, it’s standing on one leg; the buyer doesn’t understand the product and doesn’t want to look foolish so let’s you talk. It’s unlikely a sale happens. Try this instead. When he says “Yes, I have”, progress the sale with, “That’s good. What have you heard?” This way any underlying assumptions are removed.

What does it mean when the mortgage seller animatedly says, “The plinth area of the house is 178 square metres.”? Or, the computer expert, “Our internet speeds are 5mbps”? Or, the latest buzz,  “The Americans are jittery that China has 5G?” This last one would be typical of a media house informing its listening audience. Such assumptions can cost you the sale. For instance, the listener can switch channels looking for a channel that breaks down what 5G means. Again, the prospect, not wanting to look foolish doesn’t query the technical term (jargon) used. To eliminate jargon and carry the buyer along, try explain the product from the perspective of outcomes or benefits. So instead of 5mbps sell this instead. “With our internet speeds you can download a typical movie in less than five minutes.” Or, “The lounge is big enough to comfortably accommodate a seven-seater sofa, and eight-seater dining table. Even your husband’s 50in TV won’t look out of place” The buyer can picture this, and you can progress the sale with her in tow.

Another assumption happens with appearance. This is a tough one given that we tend to judge based on this. It could be race, gender, dress, tribe, accent, anything. Because the prospect is semi-literate therefore he is struggling financially; because she is female she is naturally motherly; because he speaks so eloquently he is knowledgeable. What to do? Progress the sale as you would with a typical prospect. If the eloquent buyer looks irritated that you are underplaying their intelligence, apologise and progress the sale. It’s an easier gear shift. Had you assumed that they are knowledgeable and they are not you’d struggle to shift this gear. 

What other areas do sellers make costly assumptions when selling?

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