My Biggest Mistake in Selling!

Hi, today I want to share with you how bias, fear and assumption can cost us opportunities. And we may not even realize the opportunities that they’re costing us! About nine years ago I almost made this horrendous mistake. I drove to a client’s place. They’d asked me to come in and talk about how I could help their staff. And I was sitting in the car early, and just running through a few things in my mind, preparing myself for the meeting.

I found myself going down this path where I was thinking “ok they’re this sort of company, they’ve got this many staff. We’ve done this sort of thing for them in the past. They’ve probably got this sort of requirement now, so that means they’ve probably got a budget of this… So, this is what I’ll probably recommend.”

And then I stopped myself! And I thought, what are you doing? You don’t know any of this. It could be a completely different set of circumstances. And you’re making these decisions for them, that’s just madness! So I thought to myself, ok what I’m going to do is just go in there with an open mind. I’m going to find out what the requirements are, how many staff it is and if I can actually help. And then irrespective of whatever the budget is, I’m going to just make the best recommendation in terms of solution to the problem that they’ve got.

And I am so glad I did. Because, when I walked out of that meeting, the opportunity was two and a half times in size what I had conjured up in my mind, based of my past experience and my assumption in terms of what I thought they would want me to help them with.

I’m so thankful that I stopped myself in my tracks there. Why was I thinking like that? I think it was because I had some preconceived ideas. I was going off my past experience. I was going in there feeling like I already knew them really, really well and we wouldn’t have to do too much to deliver value for them.

When in actual fact there’s always loads more to find out, as I found out in that conversation. So, have a think about that: When you prepare for calls, or meetings, or if you’ve got teams, perhaps they’re doing it. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s trying to move onto the next thing, everyone’s trying to serve.

And so, we might be at risk of a bit of bias coming in, a bit of assumption. Or perhaps even if our figures aren’t where we want them to, or if we’re chasing something, or if there’s a bit of pressure, perhaps we are going in with a lower recommendation because we feel it’s safe. And, that helps to get a deal up on the board. Whereas in actual fact, the prospect or the customer may not go ahead, because it doesn’t solve the problem, in which case you’ve got nothing!

I hope you find that useful. Have a think about that before you prepare for your next calls or meetings. And make the best recommendation irrespective of whether you believe that the customer or the prospect can afford it. Sell on value, that’s the most important thing that you can do, remember to make the right recommendations! Have you ever had a similar experience in your time selling?