So often the assumptions we make about the prospect turn out to be true … is that just amazing coincidence or is something else happening?

You know what I’m talking about – we assume the customer can’t afford what we’re selling and, sure enough they can’t!

Yet I’ve had personal experience with sales teams, where one salesperson said that a certain customer didn’t have the money to pay the price we were asking … only to have a different salesperson follow them up and make the sale. 

I guess the difference was that the second salesperson didn’t have any sort of limited expectation about the customer’s ability to pay.

There seems to be a pattern in selling where the salesperson’s beliefs about a prospect often turn out to be the reality.

If we believe they can’t pay, then we won’t sell to them properly.  We’ll sell to them in a way that saves us time rather than in a way that helps them to choose us.  But what if we’re wrong and they can pay?  We’ll end up underselling them and we’ll miss the sale.

Zig Ziglar tells a great story about a young sales rep who is sent to sell to a farmer by his boss.  His boss tells him the farmer talks like he is cheap, but he always buys and he always pays full price, so don’t be put off by his talk.

When the young sales rep returns, the boss finds out he has gone to the wrong farm and closed the sale, at full price, on a prospect that the boss has never been able to convert.  The young sales rep assumed that the farmer would buy, despite how he was talking, and the farmer did buy.

I don’t know if that story is true, Zig always claimed it was, but the point is, what we assume to be true about a customer often is, because our assumptions make it true.  We create the reality.

Be careful what you assume about your prospects – your assumptions about them are not their reality.  Sell to their reality and let them make the decision for themselves.