The Rev-Up Sales Podcast

Episode 044: Assumptions Are Killing Sales with Steve Gielda

alex mcnaughten assumptions mistakes power of sales questions sabotage sales conversations steve gielda untapped opportunities Oct 12, 2023

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In this episode of the Rev Up Sales podcast, I engaged in a compelling discussion with sales expert Steve Gielda. The topic? How assumptions can be the silent sales killers that sabotage your success. 

Steve is a renowned expert in Global Sales Enablement and a former VP of Sales. Steve has significantly improved the field effectiveness of over 15,000 sales and marketing professionals. Specialising in industries such as IT, Finance, Medical Devices, and Pharmaceuticals, Steve and his team have had the privilege of helping clients surpass their key business metrics.

As the President and co-founder of Ignite Selling, Steve has conducted extensive win-loss analysis and uncovered three critical areas where salespeople often stumble due to incorrect assumptions.


 But, what are these assumptions?

Firstly, many salespeople mistakenly assume they've got a full grasp of the business metrics their prospect aims to enhance. However, delving deeper often reveals hidden metrics that can be pivotal. The game-changing move here is to ask insightful questions like "What are the 2-3 business metrics you are held accountable for?" Uncovering these metrics empowers you to align your solution perfectly with their goals.

Furthermore, sales reps frequently assume they're conversing with all the key decision-makers in the buying process. In reality, your competition might be engaging with influential individuals that you weren't even aware of. A simple question like "Who is our competition speaking with that we're not?" can reveal untapped opportunities.

When deals go south, reps commonly point fingers at pricing. However, research shows that price is rarely the primary decision-making factor. By asking "Besides price, what criteria will you use to make your choice?" you can unveil the genuine issues behind lost deals.

So, how can budding sales professionals steer clear of these perilous assumptions? Steve underscores the power of finding a peer or manager who's willing to challenge your viewpoints and play "devil's advocate" before client meetings. This collaborative approach allows you to test your assumptions in a risk-free environment.

Sales managers also play a pivotal role in this. Instead of merely rushing from one sales call to another, they should encourage their reps to pause and think strategically. Taking a step back from real-time coaching helps in questioning assumptions and can save valuable time by preventing stalled or lost sales.

To solidify these new habits, Steve advises selecting one or two must-win deals and systematically scrutinising every assumption about the opportunity with a colleague or manager. Break down the deal, piece-by-piece, and have your colleague critically examine your thought process. This transforms unconscious assumptions into deliberate choices.

So, listen to this episode and become aware of how assumptions can sabotage your business process. Once you identify what they are you can implement different strategies that work for both you and your clients.

Although shaking up established practices might initially feel uncomfortable, the rewards for both salespeople and their customers are unquestionably worth the effort. Asking the right questions leads to a deeper understanding of your clients' true needs and desires. The result? Sales conversations that seamlessly align solutions with each customer's unique goals.

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