Ten fatal assumptions made

1) That your customers buy price.
Customers buy price only when you give them no other reason to buy from you. Study after study, market after market consumer research says customers buy Confidence, Quality, Service, Features, Selection and then finally Price. When you think about your own experience do you buy price? Did you buy the cheapest car or house? Do you buy your best clothes at discount stores? My guess is NO! I believe that the more your customer cares about the outcome the less they care about price.

2) That your customer knows your brand.
In 1994 Microsoft did a brand survey to test consumer awareness to the fact that Microsoft was the maker of Windows. The outcome of the survey was that they almost lost to their biggest competitor. Here was a company that had a powerful brand (the envy of many) but they still struggled in delivering a clear concise message. Never take your brand for granted and you must clearly and consistently communicate what you do and how you help every chance you get.

3) That you know what the customer wants.
When a doctor asks a patient a question they do so to isolate the problem and to reassure the patient they truly understand the situation. Imagine if a Doctor just started to perscribe a remedy most patients would walk out. However, many selling professionals jump to the product pitch well before they have done a good job diagnosing the situation and understanding the intent. Even if you do know what the customer wants show them that you care enough to let them tell you again.

4) The customer will think of you when getting ready to buy.
Staying top of mind in the customers eyes is hard to do. That is why real estate agents invest in calendars. So that their name is never too far away. You must find ways to gently remind everyone you know, what you do and that they can easily get a hold of you if they ever want to buy what you sell.

5) The customer wants to buy or knows to buy.

In my experience there are four types of customers out there:
Customer 1 knows what they need and where they will get it
Customer 2 knows they need it and where/how to look for it
Customer 3 knows they need it but don’t know how to get it
Customer 4 doesn’t know they need it or why they would want it

Typically most selling professionals spend all of there time focused on selling customer 1 and 2 in essence they are re-acting to customer need. However these are the customers where there is the most competition and much more blood to be lost. It’s my belief that over 40% of the potential market resides with customer 3 and 4 and there is little competitive battle if you are the caring coach that demonstrates and makes an early investment in time.

6) That buying your product is the only thing on your customer’s mind.
In todays world your customer is likely multi-tasking on many things yet the assumption is often made that the only thing on their mind is making a buying decision. Successful sales reps see and understand the many priorities in their customer’s lives. Start asking how well you know your customer’s “entire” world.

7) That the customer understands your value.
No one knows how you can help the customer better than you do. Yet many sales professionals fall into the trap of believing the customer fully understands what you do, why you do it and how it will help them. In reality most customers don’t put two plus two together and it is your role to demonstrate, remind and reinforce all that they will gain from having a relationship with you.

8) The customer is ready and capable of making a buying decision.
Sure many people want to buy your product but can they buy? One assumption often made is that every customer looking to buy has the authority and funds to make the decision. Many times selling professionals are afraid to QUALIFY opportunities because they are afraid of the answer they might find. Take the time to qualify so that you can focus your time on the right opportunities.

9) That you are not good enough to win the business.
One of the biggest challenges selling professionals face is that of beleiving in themselves and their product. You must constantly remind yourself there is a reason why you chose to sell what you do and a great selling professional makes all the difference in the world.

10) Your customer knows all that you do.
One danger many professional sales reps face is that they stop selling once they win the initial deal. They make the assumption that the client now understands all the ways you can help. My belief is most customers think very narrow and very specific and do not realize all the different ways you can help. Many opportunities can go deeper and broader if you continue to focus the relationship like it is a continued sales lead.

Curt Skene