The Benefits of Assuming Good Intentions in Sales

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  • 0:03 Assuming Good Intent
  • 1:16 Jumping to Conclusions
  • 2:30 Using Past Experience
  • 2:57 Avoiding Judgment
  • 4:08 Benefits
  • 5:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Being a great salesperson requires many interpersonal skills, including assuming good intentions of clients. This lesson discusses several factors that help you see the good in customers.

Assuming Good Intent

Being a sales professional can be a challenging role. Your ability to earn a living depends on your ability to create good relationships, present information, and close sales. It's easy to become frustrated or disappointed. However, successful salespeople rise above the momentary delays and difficult clients in order to reach their goals. One of the most important aspects of being successful is assuming good intent. Yes, you will have a few bad apples in your customer group. But when you approach your clients with the assumption that they want to buy from you and will complete their obligations, your success will greatly increase.

Let's assume you work in a home décor and lighting store. Your income is greatly affected by how much you sell and how many clients buy from you. Many people come in to browse the selection of lighting options but most salespeople get frustrated by how few people purchase lighting fixtures. They prefer to show furniture and décor because they believe more people will buy those items. You have taken a different approach. You assume that if people are looking at lighting, there's enough interest for you to present products and close sales. If you have a positive attitude and assume good intent, you are able to sell lighting products to nearly 80% of people who come in to browse.

Jumping to Conclusions

Have you ever talked to someone who continually finishes your sentences? You're in the middle of a thought and the person tries to guess what you're going to say. Sometimes he or she is right. Sometimes they're not.

As a salesperson, you may be tempted to jump to conclusions, or solve a problem or present a product before fully understanding what a person wants. Perhaps you make incorrect assumptions about his or her needs or problems. You may find a few customers that accept that. However, most customers will feel that you're not listening to them or aren't focused on their needs. Instead of jumping to conclusions, take time to listen to your clients. Understand their needs and offer sound solutions for them; this will develop trust and loyalty.

Let's say you recently started working at a health club selling gym memberships. You give tours and show the variety of service and programs you offer at your club. Some of the salespeople offer what they think the customer needs. If they're talking to someone who is overweight, they offer weight-loss programs. You take a different approach; while offering the tour of the facility, you watch for signs that clients are excited about certain services or ask questions about programs. Because you avoid jumping to conclusions or making suggestions without all the information, your sales and referral rate has jumped substantially.

Using Past Experience

The ability to understand customers' needs comes with practice. The more interactions you have with customers, the more experience you gain. With time, you can refine your skills and rely on past experience to help you become an expert in your field.

Returning to the health club example, you have become very good at listening to people's needs and concerns. You can offer solutions that have worked for others. Your experience gives you the opportunity to offer more options and solve problems.

Avoiding Judgment

Have you ever looked at a customer and thought they didn't have money for your product? Maybe you thought they weren't sophisticated enough for it; perhaps they don't fit the common demographic of your typical client. As a sales professional, you must avoid making judgments about someone. Just because they may look casual or dress in basic clothes, you can't assume they don't have the resources for your product.

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