Why a Prius is Faster Than a Porsche: Be Careful Not to Assume – by Mike Leeds

A common challenge for sales people is to assume they know what their customer or prospect is saying without further clarification. Inaccurate assumptions can contribute to you misinterpreting the customer need, as well as the benefit you may propose.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine bought a Toyota Prius. The people with us assumed it was based on fuel economy (lower gas costs and the environmental impacts). As the discussion continued, and we looked at the car, the fuel-economy topic came up. My friend stated that while gas prices and the environment were important factors, the determining factor was saving time. It turns out that the Prius is one of the cars that qualifies for the special environmental license plates in Arizona. These license plates (with the hybrid sticker) allow you to “legally” drive in the H.O.V. lane (carpool lane) on the freeway system even if you are the only occupant. My friend said that using the H.O.V. lane was reducing his daily round-trip commute by 45 to 60 minutes.

Saving time was the big benefit in this example, and a key component of the decision making process. If we didn’t know the rest of this story, we may have assumed wrong – so ask those additional clarifying questions.


Mike Leeds

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