Successful Assumptions


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I recently heard a sales expert assert that making assumptions will cost a salesperson sales. I beg to differ.  As a matter of fact, the most successful retail salespeople I know are successful because of their assumptions.

Here are five assumptions that will make you more successful:

1. Assume you're going to have a great day.  I recently connected on Facebook with an old friend I hadn't seen in a very long time. Almost every morning she posts what a bad day she's going to have and, amazingly, her predictions almost always come true! The human mind is very powerful and ultimately will create your reality. Make your reality a great one.

2. Assume every customer is coming into your store to make a purchase. This assumption separates Extraordinary salespeople from their colleagues. It's the difference between showing a customer a product and selling them a product.  I'd guess that fewer than 5% of retail salespeople do this on a regular basis.  Of course not every single customer will make a purchase, but more of them will when you assume they're in your store to buy something.

3. Assume the customer will always have a better shopping experience with your help. If you can't make this assumption then I worry what value you bring to the customer. Our challenge is that many customers assume the opposite. They might assume that you're like all the inept salespeople who have either pestered or ignored them. Sometimes it takes a little extra effort to build that rapport so your customer will see that you are indeed better than the rest. Don't take it personally if they don't let you improve their experience. It's their loss.

4. Assume your customer wants to purchase more than one product.  Why wouldn't he buy new paintbrushes along with that gallon of paint?  Of course she'll purchase the matching wallet that goes with the handbag.  Obviously she wants new socks to go with her running shoes. Failing to make this assumption results in poor service and lost sales.

5. Assume your customer will tell you when she is ready to checkout.  We should never make that decision for our customer.  Our job is to keep selling him products until he says it's time to pay. Rushing a customer to finish is not only bad for business but is unfair to the customer.

There's an old saying about assume that I can't print here, but I don't buy it.  My assumptions have nothing to do with you, but everything to do with me and with my success. You can make your own.

So let me ask, are you making enough successful assumptions?

– Doug Fleener

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


  1. Doug: thanks for this post. I’ve heard that same admonition about not making assumptions. It’s garbage. Pick up an annual report for any publicly traded company and read the letter to shareholders. It’s filled with assumptions. Some safe. Some risky. But the passage of time will determine how sound they are. Go forth and assume. You can’t sell, and you can’t develop a corporate strategy, without doing so.


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