The “Assumptive Approach”

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What is it? 

It is a technique for easily and quickly booking a meeting (face to face or by phone) with your audience when you are not in front of them, not talking with them or not everyone has their calendar.

Why is this approach important? 

Countless hours, days and weeks are lost waiting for our audience to get back to us as we play endless amounts of tag. This decreases your momentum and slows down the sale as you “wait”.

This technique will typically force or trigger a response from our audience far faster.

How does it work?

The table below features a few scenarios of everyday situations, followed by the typical approach for handling that situation and then what I recommend instead using the Assumptive Approach.

Situation Typical Response The Problem Assumptive Approach Response
You are trying to book a meeting with your customer but he does not know his schedule. I will call you tomorrow to book our meeting”. OR “I will email you a few times and days that work for me next week. Just let me know.” In this case you will be playing phone tag which will delay the entire process. “I am available Tues at 2 PM. I will email you with this date/time as a reminder and I will assume this works for you unless you notify me otherwise”.

You finish a meeting but the customer doesn’t know his schedule. “I will call you next week to book our upcoming appointment.” You are now burdened with the chore of hunting them down which inevitably will delay the whole process. “Let’s temporarily book our appt for next Wed at 4 PM. If you want to cancel, just email me.”

You need to move a meeting from Tues to Wed because of a scheduling conflict. Email sent “John, I have a schedule conflict and would like to move our meeting from Tues to Wed –same time, please let me know if this is OK.” You are left waiting and feel as though the meeting is unconfirmed until your customer gets back to you. Email sent “John, I have a scheduling conflict and would like to move our meeting from Tues to Wed – same time. I will assume this works for you unless you notify me otherwise.”

You are at a trade show or networking event and you secure a lead or contact you want to follow up with. “I will give you a call next week”. OR “I will email you tomorrow with some dates. Trying to call them randomly after you meet will mean a 90% chance of playing phone tag. Emailing a bunch of dates will leave you waiting for a response. “When I get back to the office, I will find a date/time that works for us to have a prelim phone discussion. If that meeting slot does not work for you, let me know … otherwise, I look forward to our meeting.”

You realize that you forgot to book a phone meeting to present your quote. Email sent “John, I have your quote ready. I would like to organize some time to present it to you. Please email me with your availability for next week”. You will play the waiting game here. You are adding unnecessary layers and steps to the process. Email sent “John, I have your quote ready and I would like to present it to you next Tues at 3 pm. Please check your schedule to see if that works. If it does not, email me, otherwise I will assume we are on.”

You realize you have not spoken to your customer in a while and would like to OR You are tired of playing phone tag with your prospect. Email sent “John, I am just sending you a quick email to see when you are available next Thursday for us to talk about xyz”. You will play the waiting game here. You are adding unnecessary layers and steps to the process. Email sent “John, I wanted to catch up with you about xyz. To avoid phone tag, let’s talk next Thurs at 3 pm. If this does not work, email me, otherwise we will talk then.”

Requirements for Using the “Assumptive Approach”

You must already have some relationship with the audience in question otherwise it will come across as too aggressive.

Inform your customer ahead of time that you use this type of approach and why (which is of course to save both of you time, effort and endless phone/email tag).

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In the event that you are booking the meeting blindly (meaning that you emailed or left a message for the customer regarding a meeting request without knowing their schedule and without talking to them), choose a date that is far enough in advance (at least a week) that the customer is more likely to be available.

Send a meeting invite via Outlook (or whatever calendaring tool you use).

Send an email meeting reminder 1-2 days prior just to jog their memory.

NOTE: If the customer emails you saying that he/she cannot make that meeting date/time you chose, you must immediately just choose another date/time (even if they say “I will email you next week/later with another date/time”).

NOTE: Even if your customer does not show up to the meeting you booked “assumptively”, they will likely feel bad for missing it which may give you leverage going forward.

NOTE: If after several attempts to use this technique (along with all the tips above) your audience consistently is not there for your meeting (especially phone meetings), you can either revert back to the traditional “chasing” method or you can ascertain that your audience is either not really that interested.

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