I am sure many of you have seen the episode of "The Odd Couple" when Felix appears in court and writes on a white board the word "Assume" and proceeds to break down the word into 3 parts with the phrase ....
"Never Assume (ASS-U-ME) because when you do you make an A?? of U and ME.
It was funny on TV but the problem is it's true.
We make assumptions in our communication all the time.
I can almost guarantee you that any sales person reading this has made assumptions during their last few sales calls. And it may have cost them sales or profit. And if you made assumptions it may have cost you.
People (i.e prospects and clients) can often be non-specific with what they say.
They use words like "state-of-the-art", "excellent service", "competitive pricing" etc.
What do these words actually mean ?
These non-specific words, are sometimes called "nominalizations" by some people who trained me. We used to say they were words "you could not put in a wheelbarrow". Meaning they were not concrete.
We create a nominalisation with our language when we turn a verb into a noun and pretend it’s a thing rather than an action. You see, the problem is once we turn it into a noun we often assume that what I understand as “X” is the same as your understanding of “X”.
Generally, this is far from the truth.
This can lead to problems.
For example, you may think "competitive pricing" for your product is $100 whereas the customer may have it pegged at $10 or even $1000. You could be wasting your time by pursuing a sale or you could be leaving a lot of money on the table if the cost of your product is $90.
The point is ... you will not know what any of these phrases mean until you ASK.
Take a look at the video below which talks about the dangers of a sales person assuming things.
Alternatively, you can take a look at a similar article I have written on sales questions.