Assumptions can be deal-breakers in our line of work.
For those of you who are familiar with me, you know that I've been a dedicated practitioner of meditation and yoga for a few years. It's a habit I wish I had picked up in my twenties. While meditating, I found myself reflecting on the consequences of making assumptions. It dawned on me that I've made quite a few assumptions throughout my career, especially in my younger days.
I had never thought of assumptions as habits before, let alone bad ones. So, I began to dig deeper into when and how I tended to make assumptions in my daily life. I chuckled to myself, thinking I hadn't been that bad. But then, I started thinking about my assumptions regarding text messages. If I sent a text and didn't get a response within 24 hours, I'd start feeling worried and uneasy.
But why did I expect an immediate response?
It all came down to my years of experience in the staffing industry. In that world, response time was synonymous with speed, and speed was a prized asset. Quick responses meant taking care of clients, addressing employee concerns, and engaging potential candidates swiftly. In my mind, responding promptly conveyed that I cared about the message, was efficient, and had an edge in the race.
Not too unreasonable, right?
Now, let's take that same idea and apply it to a discovery call with a potential client.
I assumed that if I had quick answers or could swiftly outline a solution, I was delivering exceptional customer service. My intentions were noble, but this habit led me to make assumptions about the other person's needs and desires, especially if we shared a common background. I'd think to myself, 'If this call goes well - if I can finish their sentences, we'll be solving problems together in no time.' Unfortunately, that wasn't often the case.
I'd find myself puzzled, especially when my follow-up emails, complete with solutions and service contracts, received no response. They were ghosting me, and I was left scratching my head. At that stage of my career, I chalked it up to the nature of business. I was convinced I wasn't alone, as I heard my peers venting about similar situations. I assumed it was par for the course; that's just how sales worked. Some people buy, and some don't. I must admit,
I was always curious about why a seemingly promising call or discussion ended with nothing happening afterward.
Fast forward a few years, and I was formally introduced to the concept of Sales Effectiveness through Butler Street.
I learned about essential concepts like active listening and the power of asking purposeful questions, following a structured process we call SIGN. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had fallen into the habit of not truly listening and failing to ask probing questions.
Instead, I was making assumptions and crafting scenarios in my head. Let me be clear: breaking these two habits was no walk in the park. They were deeply ingrained, and as with any habit,
I had to unlearn them first, then relearn better practices, and finally, make them second nature.
It demanded a heightened level of self-awareness, a conscious effort to remember the process, and a commitment to being fully present in the moment.
I'm still a work in progress, but I've made significant strides. These changes have improved my discovery conversations with potential clients and, more importantly, have also enhanced my interactions with every person I engage with. I feel lighter in each conversation now.
When I don't have all the answers, I've trained myself to ask questions instead of making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. This approach holds me accountable for my results and keeps me grounded and open to learning more about the people I'm engaging with. I respect the time they invest in our interactions.
In the end, I wholeheartedly agree with our founder, Mike J, who often says to me,
"It's not what you know that will hinder your sales; it's what you don't know.”
All of Butler Street's training begins with The Four Cornerstones of Success® and for good reason: it sets the stage to get your mind and actions and one cornerstone is habit. Increase your ability to connect with prospects, secure more meetings, and advance relationships with our virtual, onsite, and online programs. Don't let what you don't know lead to a lost deal or relationship. Contact us to learn more or visit butlerstreetonline.com to get started right away!