by Amy O’Connor
Have you been selling for a while? Yes? Then I’ve got to break some news to you. You probably have a chronic case of Assumption Syndrome. And to make matter worse, it is usually dually diagnosed with Guessing Disorder.
Popular symptoms of these two sales-killing ailments include:
- An “I’ve Got This All Figured Out” attitude
- The “I Know What My Buyers Are Thinking” mindset
- A bad habit of “I Like To Speak For My Buyers”
Now brace yourself, because I’m going to share the two best cures for these commission crushing afflictions:
1) Get over yourself! You definitely don’t have it all figured out, so stop acting like you do!
2) Your guessing is losing you sales.
Let me break it down for you because believe me, I’ve been diagnosed with Assumption Syndrome and Guessing Disorder repeatedly throughout my sales career and I am constantly vaccinating myself against them!
When you “guess” at what is going on with your buyers you run the risk of three very dangerous scenarios:
1) Getting into a pattern of “no” with your buyer
2) Placing disproportionate amounts of importance on things that are actually of low importance to your buyer
3) Bringing up objections that were never there to begin with
Let me break these down so we can all find the cure!
Getting Into a Pattern of No
A very disturbing symptom of Assumption Syndrome is asking a buyer questions in the attempt to steer the conversation in a desired direction.
This is how the pattern looks:
Salesperson: Is X important to you?
Salesperson: Has Y been a problem for you?
Salesperson: I bet you want to know about Z, right?
Buyer: Not really. You know what, I think I’ll just look around on my own.
When we ask pointed questions instead of broad, open-ended questions we road block the buyer from taking the conversation in the direction that they want (and NEED) it to go.
We often get ourselves caught in a pattern of “no” and after too many “no’s” the buyer gets annoyed and pulls the plug on the conversation.
The cure? Broad questions that look more like this:
Salesperson: What is important to you?
Buyer: Thank you for asking, _________ is important to me.
Salesperson: What is the main problem you’re facing right now?
Buyer: Oh, the main problem is ____________.
Salesperson: What can I help explain?
Buyer: I’m really confused by ____________.
Placing Disproportionate Amounts of Importance on Unimportant Items
I’ll play the other side for a moment.
Let’s say that you ask pointed questions, but the buyer doesn’t give you a no.
You asked the question so they figure they should give you some type of answer, right?
But, even if they answer you, there is still a problem.
Why? Because now you will place disproportionate amounts of importance in the wrong area because you steered the conversation.
For example, if a sales person asks if a warranty is important to me and I say yes even if I actually don’t care that much about the warranty, then the sales person may launch into a whole monologue about warranties because they think that is what is going to “sell” me.
But, I get bored and lost in the details and I ultimately find a way to get away from the “annoying” sales person that’s rambling on and on about something that doesn’t really matter to me.
Bringing Up Objections That Weren’t There To Begin With
This is the sales person’s version of a nervous tick and it is a symptom of Guessing Disorder.
Buyer: Hints at an objection
Sales Person: Begins shouting out explanations and does more damage by unintentionally introducing additional objections
Buyer: I’m not sure about this plastic.
Salesperson: Don’t worry! It’s been tested non-toxic by the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and the PETA (in case you have animals).
Buyer: Huh, I just thought is was ugly, but now I’m concerned about my kids chewing on it. I better go research this some more before I make a decision.
Moral of the story? Stop guessing! Stop working so hard!
Your buyers will always show you the path to the sale if we just let them. That’s what Jeff’s new course, The 4:2 Formula Fundamentals, is all about — building a rock-solid foundation of discovery.
True discovery (by a true sales professional!) yields a deep and powerful understanding of your customer, what they’re going through and why they’re standing in front of you to begin with.
You cannot provide a solution until you identify your customer’s problem! You must dig deep into their motivation and their mission, and when you do, everything changes.