Are you making this super common sales mistake?
Hello there handsome reader. I feel like we've met before, but if we haven't, let me give you a taste of what's to come. This is part ONE of a THREE part series called Master the Sale, which is all about getting insanely good at running a sales conversation.
And the best part is that it's free. Let's jump right into it....
Let's be real. How many times have we not known what to say when talking to a prospect?
How many times do we wish we were smoother, smarter, wittier, funnier or just plain right?
It's happened to me all the time, but less recently now that I've had some practice at this one skill I'm about to teach you.
Most of us, if we've had any sales training at all, have been taught this technique, but what we weren't taught it how to execute it properly and a result, we kill the sale before it even begins.
What am I talking about?
Assumptions are the beliefs you have about a person before you get to know them. Many of us are taught that to be good at sales you need to read people and while I wouldn't classify this as an incorrect statement, it implies that to be good at sales, you have to be born with such a skill.
That's not true (thankfully).
Frequently we actually create assumptions about people when we are actually trying to read them. Let me explain.
Reading someone is your ability to intuitively understand a specific detail about the other person. Anyone can do it (tweet that here). This may be based on what they say, do or how they dress. How reading differs from assumptions is that reading is an intuitive skill. It's the right brain, the creative place and is a very physical experience. It's reactive.
For example, two women sit down to a lunch meeting. Susie, the first woman, is interested in investing in a new business that Marcy is about to present more information about. When Marcy meets Susie, she notices she can't stop tapping her foot on the ground. There's a roughness to the tone of her voice and her eyes are squinty.
Marcy feels tense when sitting next to Susie. She thus concludes that Susie is stressed, has a lot of energy and needs to get something off her chest. Thus, before Marcy jumps into her sales conversation, she makes it her goal to put Susie at ease, which starts with ordering some food.
Marcy say how Susie was acting and thus reacted in response. It is important to be as accurate as possible when reading people given that your actions will reflect what you've downloaded from that person.
Assumptions on the other hand are very left-brain. They're proactive in nature and may not have much to do with anything in particular the person said or did. You don't care about being right, you care about learning more information about the person you're sitting with. You may in fact intentionally be wrong.
For example, Jose is meeting with Roy about a tractor he is looking to buy. Roy wants to get rid of it quickly and has priced it really low. When Jose meets Roy he says, "Is your wife taking the rest of the farm? Divorces can be such a pain in the ass when you're trying to divide assets."
To that Roy responses, "Oh no. We're not getting a divorce. I'm not even married in fact. My mother is sick and I need to go down to Texas to watch after her. We need the cash so we're selling off some of our older equipment."
Jose never met Roy and knew nothing about him other than he was selling a tractor at a cheap price. Thus, he made an assumption and verbalized it to get a sense of who Roy is and what he wants. Although his assumption was wrong, he learned a great deal of information from that one question.
However, most people don't find ways to verbalize and test their assumptions the way Jose did.
This is the cardinal mistake that most entrepreneurs make.
You must test your assumptions about your customer by verbalizing them.
Ok, so how can I use this tactic and still improve my sales conversations?
If Jose had assumed that Roy was about to get a divorce and never clarified that with Roy, he may have tried to use that as leverage to connect (the key to sales, which we talk about in part three of this series).
He may have spoken about his own marriage, how hard the divorce was and what a shitty time it was to sell off their assets.
While Roy may have been open to listening, that conversation doesn't facilitate their connection and ability to relate to one another, does it?
Jose would have been much better of talking about how important family is to him and how his mother, who suffers from severe diabetes, lives with him so he can watch over her.
That example allows them to talk about something they both can relate to and fosters a sense of trust and connection.
What may happen as a result of such a connection is as follows:
- Decrease in price of tractor
- More favorable terms for Jose
- A new friend
- Personal introduction a contact who has more farm equipment at a deep discount that no one knows about yet
- Free delivery
- BOGO deal (buy one get one free)
- And much more…
When people trust you, they tend to like you more. And when they like you more, they want to go out of their way to help you. It makes them feel good.
Three scripts to ace your next sales conversation
Now you know the different between reading and assuming. You also know that by not verbalizing your assumptions (testing them), you're committing sales suicide.
So what can you say to use assumptions like a pro? You can use these three scripts:
Script #1: The Money Maker
Use this to understand what's important to the person you're talking to. Anything in capital you can change to fit your individual scenario.
"Hey NAME, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm betting that REVENUE is probably your number one goal here, right?"
Script #2: The Geographer
Use this to create small talk and get the conversation going. People love talking about themselves and are normally quite proud of where they're from. Use that to your advantage. This works best if you or someone you know is from the same place you think they are from.
" I'd know that accent from anywhere, you're from NEW YORK!"
Script #3: The Type-A Personality
Use this when you want to understand their sense of urgency and what your window of opportunity is to work with them.
"I'm assuming that if we don't close this by Q2, we will have to wait until next year?"
Even by understanding the difference between reading someone and making an assumption, you are ahead of 99% of the entrepreneurs out there selling (really).
And now that you really understand how how to effectively use an assumption and have three scripts to try out, I want to see how this works for you.
Your homework is to go out and try ONE of these scripts in your next sales conversation then come back here immediately after (use your iPhone if you have to) and share your results in the comments below. If you wait you won't do it and you don't do it, you don't become a master at sales.
I want to know:
1- What was your assumption, meaning, what did you actually say to the person?
2- Was your assumption right or wrong?
3- What key piece of information did you learn about that person by verbalizing your assumption?
See you back here in the comments and keep your eyes peeled for part two of our three week series that comes out next week, same time same place.
To be sure you don't miss part two, be sure to sign up for our blog (it's free).