Sometimes a clever joke in a movie or TV show is all that it takes to permanently alter the perceptions of the multitude. In the old TV show, The Odd Couple, the character of Felix Unger is in court and demonstrates why one should never “assume.” Click here for a link to the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svkgOsr7pUc This logic was used once again in the original Bad News Bears movie in 1976. It’s a cute and clever joke, but ever since this joke was first proffered, generations of people have almost always assigned a negative connotation to the word “assume,” as if making an assumption is always a bad thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Can we all agree that when we assume something to be so, it rarely results in all parties transforming into asses?
One of the greatest salespeople ever, Elmer Wheeler, used to instruct his students, “Don’t ask if, ask which.” In other words, don’t give your prospect a choice between something and nothing. Rather, give them a choice between something and something else. Instead of asking, “Would you like one of these knick knacks?” – ask instead, “Which one of these knick knacks would you like?” or “How many knick knacks would you like?” or “What color/size knick knack would you like?” Often when someone says “no thank you” to your offer, it isn’t because they’re not interested; it’s because you gave them the opportunity to say “no,” which often times is just a conditioned response. When you ask an “if” question, you are giving the prospect a choice between “yes” and “no.” This is what we call a ‘closed-ended question.’ These are to be avoided whenever possible. At worst, they end the sales process immediately with a “no” response and at best, you won’t have much to go on with a “yes” response. As salespeople, we are always trying to engage our prospects in conversations that reveal their needs and wants. If someone just gives you a “yes,” you now have to ask another question to dig deeper. Assuming the sale begins with asking open-ended questions that start with “Which,” “When,” “Where,” “What” and “How.” These will get your prospect reflecting, responding and revealing their real needs and wants to you.
Another part of ‘assuming the sale’ is to have the right attitude about your product or service. If what you are selling isn’t something that you’re completely sold on, you’ll have a hard time selling it. You should start your day with the assumption that since you’re sold, everyone else will be too. If you have reservations about what you’re selling, your prospects will be able to tell. If you are not sure about how you feel about this, do a little research into your product(s) and service(s) and do a little soul searching too; you may have to work somewhere else, or sell a different product or service to succeed. Anthony Robbins discusses this in his best-selling book, Unlimited Power. We have to be congruent to have the influence we desire. As salespeople, we have to be fully aligned in this area.
Assuming the sale is a one of the strongest tools for maintaining a positive attitude and succeeding. Our greatest successes will usually follow entering a situation with highest expectations of a successful outcome.