Sandler Rule #13: No Mind Reading
Have you ever made an ASSUMPTION about a prospect that turned out to be unrealistic?
- Don't assume facts not in evidence.
- Don't misread between the lines.
- Ask what the prospect means.
One prospect say, "this looks very good. I think there's an excellent chance we'll do business together." The salesperson thinks, "I've got one!"
Another prospet says, "We were hoping for a shorter deliver time. The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to push this through as a rush order if I want to win this sale."
Each salesperson is guilty of mind reading -- assuming facts not in evidence and misreading between the lines.
In the first example, eactly what does an excellent chance mean? We have no idea. We need to find out. Similarly, was the second prospect's hope for a shorter delivery time actually a demand, or was it merely out-loud thinking about the potential need to adjust a schedule? There no way to tell without asking for clarification.
When a prospect uses words or phrases that are vague, ask for an explanation. For instance, it would be appropriate for the salesperson to ask the first prospect what "excellent change" really means. A first step to determing the meaning behind the second prospect's comment might be, "And you're telling me that because . . . ?"
Don't jump to conclusions Get the facts.
When Bob's prospect said, "We're already working with a supplier," bob responded with a long list of the benefits of buying from his company rather than from other suppliers. Most of the items on that list were totally irrelevant to his prospect's world.
A better dialogue for Bob might have been this one:
Prospect: We're already working with a supplier.
Bob: You must be telling me that for a reason.
Prospect: Well, we've been doing business with them for serveral years.
Bob: Which means . . . ?
Prospect: We've been please with their service.
Bob: And . . . ?
Prospect: And, there would have to be a good reason to switch.
Bob: Like . . . ?
Prospect: Well, I'm not sure. I suppose quality control would be a factor, we've had a higher
rate of flawed product shipped to use than the CEO is looking for.
Now Bob has something to talk about! By responding to the prospect's statement with a statement or questions Bob was able to avoid mind reading and uncover the intent of the original statement -- the prospect's respect for a vendor relationship of several years -- and eventually discovered an opening for a discussion.
No one can know what a prospect is thinking. Isn't it worth a few questions to find out?
Share copies with your team!