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The Hidden Dangers of Predicting the Future and Reading Minds

A lot of prospecting doesn’t get done because we as salespeople sometimes believe we can both predict the future and read minds. We say to ourselves, “They’ve used that provider forever; there is no chance of them changing now.” Or, we tell ourselves, “They are completely happy with their current program, they’re not going to look at anyone else for at least another next year.”

What we tell ourselves, we believe. And so we take no action.

But the truth is that we can’t predict the future and we cannot read minds. Nothing changes until something changes. It is in your control to be known when something changes for your dream client. You don’t have to either read minds or predict the future to know how to take the right actions now.

Making Assumptions

We make assumptions about the client’s current level of satisfaction with their current provider and their willingness to explore opportunities based on our past interactions. We assume that because they haven’t changed for some period of time that they are not likely to do so. But in an age of rapidly increasing, disruptive change, this is less and less true.

The danger in making this assumption is that we move away from our dream clients, the prospects for whom we can do our best and most meaningful work and towards prospective clients that are merely receptive. Instead of putting in the time developing and nurturing the clients for whom we can make the greatest difference and who will make the greatest difference to our own results, we spend our time and energy on something less.

By diverting our efforts from the coldest non-opportunities, we never nurture and develop them to the point where a change for them would mean an opportunity for us. They never turn into to hot opportunities.

We rationalize that nothing is going to change, and by doing so we cut ourselves off from the possibility of knowing when they become dissatisfied, from developing the trust and the relationships that create an opportunity, and from creating value before we claim any.

The Future in Mind

We can’t know the future. We can’t know when things will change for our dream clients or when they will be dissatisfied enough to move. The only future we can imagine that resembles the truth is that, over time, something always changes.

Acting with that future in mind means continually prospecting to identify and engage with the stakeholders that you need to build an opportunity in the future. The right course of action based on what you really can know with certainty is to develop the relationships that allow you to know when something has changed and when there may be an opportunity. Knowing that the future will bring change, the right course of action is to nurture your dream client now, never believing that a longest history of no change means that there will never be any possibility of change in the future.

Nothing ever changes until it finally does. Given a long enough timeline, what is true now will no longer be true when it comes to your dream clients and their selection of partners. Act accordingly.

Even if there is no hint of changes to come, the right course of action is pursue your dream clients and to establish yourself as a value creator instead of believing that you can know your dream client’s mind or predict that your timing won’t be right. The only safe and reasonable course of action is to prospect and nurture your dream clients now.

Questions

What do you believe abut your prospect’s current state now that prevents you from prospecting?

What do you to ensure that you know when things change for your dream client?

What do you to make sure that you are known when something changes and to earn an opportunity?

How do you create value before claiming any? Can you do so long before you are given an opportunity?

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