Do you assume too much?

28.01.2021

My husband and I had a ‘disagreement’ last weekend.

I am taking my mother-in-law for her COVID vaccine this week and we were discussing where I needed to take her for it.

After a lot of bad directions such as “it’s near the Co-Op” and “it’s next to that garage”, he finally told me the name of the building - and I knew exactly where it was.

My immediate answer was: “Why didn’t you just tell me the name of the building to start with?”

His reply…. “Because I assumed you wouldn’t know where it was”.

His assumption wasted time

Caused a breakdown in our communication

Led to a frustrating situation for both of us

It got me thinking about how we sometimes miss the obvious by making assumptions.

We don’t always ask enough questions – we make assumptions

and equally

We don’t always ‘state the obvious’ as we assume people know it already.

In a world where we focus on speed, differentiation and USPs, have we forgotten the art of reminding people of the ‘obvious’ and asking them appropriate questions rather than making assumptions?

The famous saying about never assuming as it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’ springs to mind.


An example of this is shown in the Kano Model, which is a theory for customer satisfaction that was developed by Professor Noriaki-Kano in the 1980s. The Model discusses the different categories that contribute (or detract) from customer satisfaction.

His first category is that of ‘Must Be’, which simply stated, are the requirements that the customers expect and are taken for granted. Whilst these requirements are so expected they don’t necessarily contribute to satisfaction levels, if they are missing, they cause dis-satisfaction.

In a competitive sales environment, are you certain you are guaranteeing these ‘Must-Be’s’ for every Client?

Are you losing pitches or Clients by not covering these basics?

Are you continually reviewing your Value Proposition to ensure ever evolving ‘Must-Be’s’ are delivered?


As well as potentially not fully understanding our customer’s wants, are we also guilty of taking a problem at face value rather than understanding the root cause? Do we assume we know the issue, rather than asking and delving deeper?

The ‘Five whys’ method is quite commonly known across various industries as a way of exploring an issue to ensure you are truly getting to the root cause, rather than taking something at a potentially superficial face value. It involves literally asking the question ‘why?’ as many times as needed until the root cause of the issue is identified.

Often, by taking an issue through the Five Whys, it becomes apparent that the actual issue is very different to what was first assumed….

How can we correctly solve an issue or alleviate a pain point, if we don’t fully understand what it is and the impact its causing?

Ensuring we truly understand an issue leads to better results.


Here at Strive, we pride ourselves on excellent communication and we will never assume that we know your company, your role or your situation better than you. We will never assume we know your pain points, but will help you to explore what is causing these and how we can support you in resolving them.

How do we do this?

A full exploration call – where you do most of the talking, not us.

Shared market intelligence - to ensure you are not making assumptions about the market you operate within.

Communicating openly and honestly - asking the right probing questions and never making assumptions.


Want to learn more? Reach out to a member of the Strive team here.

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