If you’re not sure ask

Ambiguity can kill a sale. The prospect doesn’t want to commit to something, so they say they are “leaning toward going forward” with the purchase. The salesperson “hears” that and assumes that the prospect will most likely buy in the next few days. She forecasts it as a sure thing in her pipeline. Management makes decisions assuming that the sale will come in. Then the prospect disappears or they “change their mind” and decide not to go forward. Everyone is upset. This could all be avoided if the salesperson had actually made sure of what the prospect’s decision was in the first place. “leaning toward doing something” is essentially meaningless. The salesperson should have recognized that “leaning” meant nothing and followed up with more questions like “what does leaning mean?”. Or “could you tell me why you wouldn’t do it?” Or, almost any other question to get the prospect to commit to an actual decision.
The culprit here is the willingness of the salesperson to accept the ambiguity. Under oath, the salesperson would have to admit that they could not be sure what the prospect meant. So, they should not have moved forward with the sales call. The lesson is if you are not 100% sure, ask more questions until you are sure.

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