Challenge Implicit Assumption

When prospects make statements they are often based on unstated assumptions. Often these assumptions are not based in fact. If you challenge the assumption you can get to pain much more quickly and you can get into a deeper conversation. It is also more likely that you will be having a conversation with the prospect that the competitor is not having. What better way to differentiate yourself? The only problem is recognizing that the prospect is making an implicit assumption. That I can’t help you with since it is entirely dependent on the situation and to a very large extent dependent on a deep understanding of the domain, the technology or the application. But, once you recognize the assumption you should challenge the assumption. For example, in a software application, if you realize that the prospect is assuming that average delay in response is 2 minutes when they make a problem statement, you should ask something like “how do you know it is 2 minutes”? They might respond with “well we made an assumption”. You could then ask “based on What”? and now you are into a discussion of the problem at a deeper level. This might lead to a discovery that the prospect does not have a complete understanding of the origin or magnitude of the problem which could lead you in a whole different direction. For instance, it might lead to a contract to define the problem. The lesson is to listen for what is not being said as you uncover pain and challenge any implicit assumptions you “hear”.

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