Assumption, the killer enemy of sales growth!

Assumption is a bit of a pet issue of mine. I can get quite preachy about it. I also could not assume (taking my own medicine) that it was also entirely grandma sucking eggs so decided to commit words on subject to blog.

I became interested in the topic a good few years back when the novelty of online timesheets and the like in the Parasol business may have become old hat in our internal minds. I felt we had assumed that agencies and contractors knew we had all this good stuff and did not need to to be reminded. That of course was wrong. Agency recruiters move around and there were always new people coming in to the sector and equally, by their very nature, contractors were always new and changing. We were looking for a new angle perhaps at a time when we assumed everyone else had caught up. Of course this was not the case and whilst new service features were always welcome we forgot to mention the basics, we assumed it wasn’t necessary.

Whilst assumption was not really holding us back, it made me realise that it was dangerous to over focus on the new and forget to mention the foundations. I think this is also very relevant for growing a business as that initial creative phase can create some really good stuff that we perhaps do not always go back and recycle or revisit for validity down the line.

So, if you were to ask me to list the learnings on this subject from the last 14 years of growth I think they might be:

  1. Those early business life impetus and features may still be very relevant. Of course, they may need revamping for the current scenario but why assume it’s old hat?
  2. Never assume an existing customer “gets” what you do especially if you feel the level of contact has been average. Your business may have added new services or products and assumed your customer knows that. I have discovered so many times over the years how bad business can be at explaining the full range of what they offer!
  3. People move – your key contact may have moved on, does the replacement knew what you do, don’t assume a good handover.
  4. Those core foundations of your business will probably still be fundamental – why assume your prospects or customers don’t want to also understand those.
  5. It’s better not to assume anything than to assume something!

Many a current and ex Optionis sales person will have had this lecture from me. Mainly because when I do check, so much of what we do remains unique, special and really relevant.

What’s your pet business issue or am I over emphasising this and assumption can be easily handled?



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