Nothing is Obvious

When something seems obvious to you, you may feel self-conscious about asking the next logical question. For example, When the prospect says they want the new software operational by July 1st, it may seem obvious to you that they need to place the order by April 15th to allow for delivery, installation and training of the new users. It seems obvious because in your first meeting you had discussed lead time. So, you forecast it that way. But what was obvious to you may not have been obvious to the prospect because they were not thinking about delivery or they just forgot about the lead time. They were planning on ordering by June 1st due to some internal procedures. They thought that was plenty of time. By May 1st, your boss is getting antsy because the PO is not in yet. Sales meetings are held. Uncomfortable questions are asked. Pressure is applied to the salesperson to close the order. Trust in the salesperson’s and the sales manager’s forecasts has taken a hit. Delivery schedules are impacted. Overtime may have to be worked to meet the deadline. Profit margins suffer. This situation has just become way more messy than it had to be. All of this could have been avoided had the salesperson not thought that “it was obvious that the order has to be placed in April to meet the deadline”. This example is a trivial example but is played out hundreds of times in more serious situations. All the salesperson had to do was not make an assumption and ask when the order would be placed. Just remember to take nothing for granted and that nothing is obvious. Then ask a question. You life will be way less messy if you do.

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