Assuming Will Kill You

I was listening to a woman selling an apartment to gentleman while in a coffee shop the other day.  She was the apartment complex sales person. She was doing a lot of telling.  She was telling him all about the amenities; the workout room, the business center, the free wifi in the lobby, the pool room, the TV and poker room, and the pool.  It all sounded pretty good. I was thinking, shoot maybe I need to sell the house and move the whole family in. 🙂 As she was talking about the pool and BBQ area the gentleman stopped and asked if the pool was really busy.  The sales girl quickly said it wasn’t and that there was always room to sit and that it never become too rowdy. She then continued her schpeel about the complex. As she continued, you could see her prospect stopped paying as much attention.  I didn’t want to seem too nosey, but it was rather clear, she lost him.

I was trying to figure out what happened. How did she lose him. It was obvious she had. After she finished, she then asked him why he was looking for a new place, how he found their particular complex, what he was looking for etc.  She started to ask questions.  And then I knew why she lost him.  He said he was newly divorced.  BAM!  He WANTED a busy, vibrant, rowdy pool and BBQ area. He wanted to meet people. He wanted a place that had a lot going on. She assumed that his question about it being busy was a bad thing and she sold it that way. She told him her complex wasn’t a good fit for him and she didn’t even know it. She sold him the wrong thing.

Assuming we know what a prospect wants is dangerous. It will kill a deal in a heartbeat. Assuming almost always happens when we don’t understand a buyers motives. Why is the buyer, buying? If you don’t know the answer, don’t assume; ASK!  Every buyer, from those buying at Walmart to IBM have a motive for their purchase. It’s our job as sales people to understand what that motive is.

HINT; The motive for the exact same product can be different every time. You can’t make assumptions on motive, based on product. It’s too easy to do and most of us make the mistake.  But don’t. Just because someone is buying food, doesn’t mean they are hungry.  There are millions of examples like this. Don’t assume.