You probably know Jeffrey Gitomer, author of the Little Red Book of Selling and a syndicated columnist in many business journals.  In this week’s column, Gitomer presented five internal senses required for having a sense of selling.  The great part of writing my own weekly column is that I can disagree with what he writes!

He says that “you must interpret the customer’s words, questions, tone, mood and motives in order to determine both where your opportunity is, and when that opportunity has surfaced.”

I think that’s bad advice.  It would be better to say that you must listen closely to the customer’s words, questions and tone and then, using the Infield Why Rule from Baseline Selling, simply ask one of those ‘why?’ questions.  You should observe their mood and ask ‘why?’  As far as motives, you should ask your prospect what they are.

Interpreting, also known as assuming, can get you in a heap of trouble.  You must have heard the age-old expression that when you assume you make an ass out of u and me.  More to the point, when you assume there’s a really good chance you’ll be wrong.  More importantly, it’s important that you get your prospect to actually say what they’re thinking.  There’s a lot of power in their words and when you go and interpret those words, the interpretation is based on your experience, not theirs.

Gitomer is usually spot on but this week I have the spotlight on his bad advice.

You can learn much more about the Infield Why Rule beginning on page 103 of Baseline Selling.