Marketing Files

3 Sets of Expectations in Every Sale

Living up to something that is true and spoken is a lot easier than living up to the unspoken assumption.


Expectations are the set of assumptions that you believe about someone, something, or the future. (In Layman’s Terms)

Selling and pitching often come with three sets of expectations. The point of reading any further at this point is to simply understand that those expectations exist and challenge you to think differently about the pre-sale, the sale, and the post sale.

Expectation 1: The Salesperson’s.

Most salespeople walk into each sales call the same way- I believe this is actually a good thing if the same approach is just that “an approach.” The best ones are weathered, ready for any objection, and know how to adapt and respond.

All salespeople (find me one that doesn’t) has expectations. Expectations to gather information, make the pitch, and most importantly, expectations of how that client/prospect is going to respond.

The key is to understand why and where the expectations come from when it relates to the client/prospect responding. Often there’s a gap of what’s actually true and the assumed truth- insert “expectation.”

Truth <——- Expectation ——-> Assumed Truth

These gaps aren’t always this distant, sometimes they all align and are spot on, and sometimes they are even farther apart.

As a salesperson, ask yourself- where do my expectations fall? Is this an assumed truth or the actual truth? Note: sometimes you’ll be wrong and miss the mark on this, that’s okay- it just means the person being pitched is better at deploying their emotions.

Expectation 2: The Prospect/Client’s.

Use the same analyses as the salesperson’s here, but one caveat to add in with the prospect/client’s: they’re expecting to be sold… and in 2020 (really ever)- no one likes to be sold.

The salesperson today need not pitch hard and sell hard (that doesn’t mean not to close and ask for the business- more on that another time), but the salesperson of today is to lead the prospect to make their own decision. Selling is less about the perfect pitch and more about leadership than anything.

Expectation 3: The Relationship.

Anytime someone buys something, there’s an expectation that what they bought will bring them something (time, money, status, feeling), but when they’re buying an intangible like “future returns” or marketing (broadcast, digital, print, direct), they are expecting what they experienced all the way leading up to the sale.

I’m not the first nor the 100th person to say that the best in the business do one thing better than the rest- they follow through on what they pitched.

That’s easy though. What’s often missed here is that there’s an expectation of what the client/prospect assumes to happen and what the salesperson assumes to happen.

The best approach is being direct and laying out those expectations.

Living up to something that is true and spoken is a lot easier than living up to the unspoken assumption.

Just ask my wife- I made sure I didn’t promise the world in my vows, I promised what I knew I would follow through on… peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a life lived well together.

I’m still working on the follow through, but hey, at least I haven’t fell below what I promised to be the expectations.

“To becoming and beyond…”

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