Our underlying assumptions—about prospects, our roles and factors that could hinder success—are crucial to our performance.

Here are 17 sales truths and why understanding each one helps you win more deals.

(1) Everyone is overwhelmed. 

Focus only on what’s relevant, actionable and valuable to your prospect. Minimize complexity. 

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(2) Your prospects are pretty OK with what they’re doing now.

If they weren’t, they’d have already changed. Your  job is to help them see why it’s worth doing things differently. 

(3) Prospects don’t like change. 

Crazy-busy people don’t want MORE work. Help them envision how your solution will get them to their goals with greater ease. 

(4) It’s your responsibility to pique curiosity. 

Experiment with creative ways to get people to say, “Hmm. That’s interesting. I’d like to learn more.”

(5) Your ideal prospects have a lot in common. 

Leverage what you already know about your customers to ask better questions, deepen conversations and establish credibility. 

(6) Prospects want to deal with experts. 

Demonstrate familiarity with your prospects’ business, processes, industry, issues and challenges to set yourself apart from the competition. 

(7) Assume responsibility when you fail. 

If your prospects buy from another vendor or decide to do nothing, analyse what you could have done differently. If you don’t learn from your mistakes you’re guaranteed to repeat them. 

Im-possible

(8) 50% of your forecasted deals won’t close. 

(That’s about average.) To exceed your goals, ruthlessly inspect your pipeline to eliminate “hope” and fix lurking deal killers. Clear out “dud” opportunities to make room for real ones. 

(9) Prospects act in their own self interest. 

If they can’t see how they will win by making a change, they won’t take the risk. Ask them how they’re evaluated. Explore how your product/service helps them achieve their goals. 

(10) Prospects will struggle to get buy-in. 

Arm them with the tools they’ll need. Prep them about the common obstacles. Help them facilitate change conversations with internal stakeholders. 

(11) You’ll hit the world’s worst traffic snarl on your way to a big meeting. 

Give yourself ample (2x) time to arrive stress-free. Get there early. Review your strategy. It’s the only way to be at the top of your game.

(12) Technology will fail. 

Have Plan B ready to go. Have handouts to support presentations. Prepare to jump on a white board to facilitate a conversation … Hey! That might even be a better idea in the first place!

(13) People will use devices during meetings. 

Think about how you’ll get them so engaged that they won’t want to. 

Device in meetings

(14) Buyers won’t remember anything. 

After a phone or in-person conversation, follow up with a summary of key points and next steps. Take the burden off of them. 

(15) Your top accounts are at-risk. 

Bring fresh ideas, insights and information to help your customers achieve their goals. It’s the single best way to keep your competitors at bay. 

(16) Buyers don’t know how to buy. 

Review typical hurdles your customers had to overcome at each phase of their buying process. Ask how “similar” decisions were made—from concept to signed contract. 

(17) Your contact will leave the company, get downsized or go on an unexpected medical leave. 

To protect yourself from a shake-up, make sure you have multiple relationships in an account. Never leave your future in the hands of one person.

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Jill Konrath
Jill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales expert who speaks frequently at conferences and sales kick-off meetings. She’s also the bestselling author of four books: Selling to Big Companies, SNAP Selling, Agile Selling, and More Sales Less Time. With over 1/3 million followers on LinkedIn, Jill has twice been named their #1 Business-to-Business Sales Expert. Jill’s career has been defined by her relentless search for fresh strategies that actually work in an ever-changing business environment. She’s an award-winning seller and sales leader. As a consultant, Jill’s clients include IBM, Oracle, E&Y, GE, 3M, Medtronic and numerous mid-market firms. Today she serves as an advisor to growing SaaS companies. Because Jill is one the front edge of what it takes to be successful today, her strategies have been featured in Forbes, Fortune, WSJ, New York Times, ABC News and Fox. In 2012, she was inducted into the Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame.