We all know what happens when you assume things … and no one wants that.

Instead of assuming you know everything about your potential customers, you should try to understand them. Empathy is the key to successful selling – it’s vital to learn how prospects think, feel and – ultimately – buy. Unfortunately, too many sales reps have a tough time putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and imagining what drives a customer to want to buy their company’s products.

Sales organization assume a lot about their customers, and unfortunately, some of these assumptions are completely wrong. Some mistaken assumptions are harmless, but others can trip up your sales team and cost the company a deal. Avoid these mistakes by better understanding your customers and starting to think more like a buyer, not a seller.

1. Buyer’s Challenges Are Simple

From an outside perspective, sales reps may think they can easily see a problem in a prospect’s business and offer a solution to it. However, to your potential buyer, their problems are complex and incredibly difficult to solve. They’re in the trenches day to day, and may not appreciate a sales rep telling them how easy it is to solve one of their biggest business problems. They will be skeptical and think you’re oversimplifying or downplaying their problems. This is where reps need to convince the buyer by empathizing with their difficulties, and offering thoughtful insights. This requires sales reps to think like the customer. Show the customer, step by step, that you really do understand their complex challenges and prove that your product can relieve a pain point.

2. Your Company is Very Different from the Competition

Most sales reps can quickly list huge differences between their product and what the competition offers. However, that’s not how it appears to your buyers. Customers often have a hard time seeing the key differentiators between products in a crowded B2B sales landscape. Overwhelmed with choices for business solutions, many buyers will choose whichever product they’re already familiar with. This is where your sales team needs to step up and educate prospects. Instead of focusing the sales pitch on specifications like your product’s faster processing time or new features, you have to clearly explain the ROI and business case for your product. By showing exactly how you can help a buyer’s business, they will see a real difference between you and the competitors.

3. Cost is Critical

Creating a competitive pricing model is important, but it is rarely the deciding factor in most deals. Too many sales reps assume they lost out on a deal because their price was too high, or they didn’t offer enough of a discount to a buyer. However, the key to selling isn’t just about the price – it’s about creating value for the customer. If your buyer can’t see the value of your product, they may go for a competitor’s cheaper option. But if your sales reps can show how much value your product offers – in terms of fast time-to-value, easy implementation, amazing customer support, and more – buyers will consider a higher price to be a bargain. Sales reps need to move past focusing on the cost, and show buyers the ROI of the product in concrete terms. If buyers can see saving money every year thanks to your product, they will be willing to sign a contract and invest today.

4. Everyone Already Knows Your Company

Sales reps may think their company is a leader in the marketplace, but not everyone knows about the products and services you offer. One of the biggest mistaken assumptions sellers make is not focusing enough effort on creating customer advocates and a positive, word-of-mouth reputation. Many buyers look first to a recommendation from a friend or colleague, long before they ever do a Google search and do research. Your company’s reputation is incredibly important in this case. You can’t neglect your company’s branding or market awareness, or just assume your product is so great it sells itself. Make sure your marketing team invests in PR, case studies, content marketing and other branding to make it easier for your sales team to connect with buyers.

5. Buyers Aren’t Interested in Other Products

One of the costliest assumptions sellers make is that buyers know about all of your products, and have already purchased everything they need. Many sellers are missing out on a huge opportunity to upsell their customers on more products. Once buyers have an existing relationship with your company, it’s much easier and incredibly cost-effective to sell them on more products. They’ve already shown that they are a good fit for what your company offers and are open to communication. But many buyers aren’t going to go through the effort themselves to see what else they could buy – your have to offer it to them. Your sales team’s interactions with customers may be over, but they have to be passed onto an account management team that can help buyers realize they should expand the relationship.


Too often, sales organizations think that buyers are easy to understand, and miss out on some huge opportunities. Don’t assume that you already know everything about your potential customers before you even talk to them. Each buyer has complex and unique challenges to overcome, and it’s up to you to understand, empathize and start to think like a buyer.

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