This article is an excerpt from my sales book, AGILE SELLING. To learn more habits of successful, agile sellers, order your copy today.

Hope is rampant in sales. We need it to keep going - but we also need to avoid being fooled by false hope. The longer a deal stays in your sales pipeline, the less likely you are to ever close it, even if your prospect claims that he or she desperately needs your offering. 

Purging your pipeline regularly keeps you honest with yourself. To do so, get in touch with your long-term prospects to see what's happening. Find out if they're still serious about making a change, and if so, realistically when.

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Like many sellers, I look calm, cool and collected. But underneath that exterior, I've often felt far differently. If you really knew me, you’d know that I’ve worried about many things, including:

  • Meeting my quota.
  • Succeeding in a new sales position.
  • Giving an important presentation.

I’ve fainted in sales calls. Once I even dropped 10 pounds in the month following a promotion to major account sales. I was so sick to my stomach that I couldn’t eat. (Not a good diet!)

During the 2000 downturn, I lost 95% of my business. It took me a couple of years to get my mojo back. I was afraid that I was totally washed up and had nothing left to offer the sales profession. (That’s probably hard for you to believe, but it’s true.)

At our core, we all worry about failing.

When you’re selling, you’re virtually guaranteed to experience lots of failure.

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You've probably heard that being a good listener is the key to being successful in sales. While I agree that it's essential, I'm here to tell you that your ability to ask good sales questions is even more important.

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Every once in a while, someone jolts me out of my comfort zone - and makes me question what I'm doing. Dan Waldschmidt, author of the new book EDGY Conversations, is one person who always seems to do that. He's spent the past four years studying how ordinary people were achieving success against all odds. I hope you enjoy my interview with him.

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How can you quickly position yourself as a trusted advisor when meeting someone new?

Here are 3 strategies you can use to immediately be seen as a credible, potentially invaluable resource:

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From the first day I started selling, I was told that I should never, ever assume – that it would only lead to failure. Instead, I was supposed to be consultative, learning about a prospect's situation before I made any definitive recommendations or pronouncements.

Well, today things are different. To be effective in today's business environment, you need to assume. Why? Because it makes you sound like you know what's going on. Let me show you what I mean.

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Join me at the 2014 Sales Acceleration Summit. The brightest minds in sales and marketing will share their secrets in a rapid-fire series of online presentations you won't want to miss.

The first summit, held in June 2013, attracted more than 16,000 sales leaders from all over the world. The upcoming event promises to be bigger, better and faster.

In all, more than 80 sales experts, authors and business leaders will serve up their secrets in 15 minutes or less on March 13. The opening and closing keynotes will last 30 minutes each.

Confirmed speakers include:

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As I write this, I’m flying home (via Delta) from a speaking engagement in Orlando. I fly a lot; it’s part of my business.

When the flight attendants give their safety overview, I never pay attention. I could practically do it by heart myself. Same for the video that cover these details. Boring.

So why am I glued to the screen today paying rapt attention?

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If you're tired of calling on people who really want to work with you, but can't seem to get anything approved, listen up! Spending one more day working with these really nice individuals is a total waste of your time - even though they love you and what you're selling. You'll never close deals that way.

If you want to get the business, you need to find those individuals in the company who are making things happen. CEB, a sales research group, calls these people the Mobilizers. They're the ones who spearhead new projects in their organization. They can see into the future and know that change is imperative for the company - and for them personally.

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Ever made a big whopper of a sales mistake? I sure have! Let me just share one.

When I began selling at Xerox, one of the first things we had to do was to memorize a demonstration script that included everything you needed to know about using a copier. We had to learn it perfectly before we were allowed to make sales calls.

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