Recently I got an email from Ahmed that said, "Do you have anything on how to close sales? Getting into an account isn't a problem for me. But I get stuck after submitting a proposal.

"By this time, I've already sent them all our marketing materials and given them a demo. They seem interested. Then, after they get my proposal, nothing. What am I missing?"

I can't tell you how many times salespeople have asked me to help them get better at closing. However, despite what you think, it's not the real problem. 

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We all know how important it is to be a good listener. But I'm the lone voice in the wilderness talking about the vital importance of hearing. And I mean hearing from your customer's perspective. It's a grossly undeveloped sales skill in most sellers because no one has ever told them it's important or how to do it.

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I was sitting next to Brian, one of my client's customers. The previous day, I'd led a "Selling to Crazy-Busy Buyers" workshop at their annual sales meeting. Today, he was speaking on how to best work with people just like him.

I was delighted my client was bringing the actual "voice of the customer" into their sales meeting. That is, until I asked Brian how he liked to be approached by new salespeople. He was quick to respond - and very emphatic: 

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In today's words of "never" wisdom, Lori Richardson, author of 50 Days to Build Your Sales and CEO of Score More Sales shares an invaluable lesson a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) taught her about email prospecting and email communications.

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Charles H. Green, author of Trust-Based Selling and The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, shares a story about how his boss taught him a big lesson on engaging prospects and creating value without "pitching" your product or service. 

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I was young. I went on a sales call with a senior partner to a regional beer company in an old, rust belt manufacturing town. Sales were down, margins were low, and the beer had an undeniably downscale image. 

The owner told us about his proud third generation German family heritage and the copper tanks the beer was brewed in. I was thinking to myself, "Who cares! This is a marketing problem!"  

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Never, in all my years in sales, did I ever think I'd write an article on this topic. But recently, I've been reading some interesting studies that show that liberals and conservatives have some real, genetically hard-wired differences. For example:

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In today's marketplace, your prospects have so many options -- and they know it. When you tell them, "We're special" -- they don't believe you. If you say, "We have a passion for excellence" -- they don't care one little bit. Tons of companies have the same passion for excellence.

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Every once in a while we are reminded that our perception of the world is not necessarily accurate. That's exactly how I felt when I read Lynn's letter.

A few months ago, she'd been quite snippy at a party we were at. After I innocently said, "Life is good," she really laid into me. After that, I kept my distance for the rest of the evening.

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If you're finding it harder and harder to set up meetings with with potential buyers, you're not alone. Sales prospecting isn't easy these days.

But the real problem is that most sellers don't understand how their prospects are evaluating their attempts to get in. This lack of understanding is the root cause of most prospecting failure. 

That's why I wrote The Buyer's Lament -- a sales poem that highlights what your prospects really want from you. Enjoy!

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Shortly after my last newsletter went out, I got an email from Lauren. She liked my article, but was frustrated because she couldn't easily Tweet about it. Now that may not be one bit important to you, but check out what happened next.

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