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WINNING, Incorporated | Boston, Massachusetts

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Kevin Hallinan

Did you ever have a conversation with a prospect who suddenly, and for no apparent reason, became unreceptive to perfectly good advice? It happens to many salespeople. 

Ever ask yourself this question: Why aren't I earning more?" There is truth to the old adage "the rich keep getting richer." You are earning - right now - exactly what you believe you're worth; and not a penny more or less.

Have you ever given a presentation to a prospect who seemed to be showing you nothing but “green lights” … until you came to the final page of your proposal? As a general rule, that’s the page with the price. 

When you first open your mouth to speak to a group, audience members want to know two things: They are curious about the journey they'll be taking with you, and they want to be assured that they will receive value during the presentation.

Since prospects tend to “smokescreen” their questions – meaning that they tend to ask questions whose true purposes aren’t likely to be clear to you at first – you must make sure, first and foremost, that you’re answering the real question.

It’s a fact: most organizations need a killer sales force. Business development, marketing, must-have products or services – these are all essential to meaningful revenue growth. But your sales team is the heart of production. Your salespeople are the ones championing your offer and driving precious profit. 

How many times has this happened to you? You got a promising referral, or scheduled a conference call, or showed up at an initial meeting with someone who seemed like a perfect fit for your product, service, or solution.

One way salespeople get themselves in trouble is by rushing to answer a prospect’s question … before they uncover the intent that’s driving that question. The question you hear is probably not the “real” question, and the intent behind that question is far more important than the surface meaning of the words.

Your most productive sales discussions with prospects are likely to involve multiple up-front contracts. The most important one, however, is the first one. It sets up the whole relationship. You’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by establishing an up-front contract with your prospect!

What does it take to be a successful salesperson? An outgoing personality? A disciplined work ethic? Influential contacts? Those may help. But, those alone will have little impact unless they are part of a bigger framework built on three critical elements: Competence, Confidence, and Commitment.