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Cambridge | crobinson@sandler.com

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Caroline Robinson

Last week I was a guest speaker at our Annual Client Summit in Orlando.  I spoke on a topic that I find fascinating which has broad application for anyone in business, regardless of role; lessons from sports psychology and neuroscience that we can apply to business. 

Not everyone is a prospect, even if they do fit your target profile. Do you know who are the right prospects to invest your time and efforts?

We are taught that if we are asked a question, we need to answer it. But if we don’t know the intent, or importance of a question answering it may do us more harm than good. Don’t answer automatically, find out what the real question is and then you can answer it.

Have you ever taken a prospect’s diagnosis of a problem at face value? Often, especially if it’s a complex problem, they haven’t had the time to look beyond the symptoms to identify the origins of the problem, or if they have they may not want to reveal the true issues to you.

In many industries proposal writing/pitching (beauty parades comparing several different companies) is the norm, its just what we do. But does it really work for you, or for the prospective client? I would argue not.

Ask salespeople to list their least favorite selling activities, and you can count on “prospecting” being at the top of the list. And, the least favorite of all prospecting activities is unquestionably making cold calls.

These 10 blunders are addressed through the Sandler Rules. 

1. Assuming the problem that the prospect communicates is the real problem. It’s normal and natural to assume this; however, it’s important to look deeper into each scenario. Like a doctor, we must ask ourselves “is this the prospect’s real problem or is it just a symptom?” Before diagnosing and offering how we can address their challenges, we have to ask more questions to make sure we’ll be getting at the root of their problem, and bringing value to the prospect by supporting their true goals. (Sandler Rule #38)

I delivered this talk at a networking meeting recently and it went down very well, so I thought others might be interested too.

Most people agree that the shorter the selling cycle, the better. Why? Because long selling cycles have two negative consequences:

How good would you say you are at listening to your prospect? Most people I talk to rate themselves pretty highly in this area. Yet most, sad to say, fail the Tooth Fairy Test.