By Holly Mitchell

Early in my sales career, I landed a golden opportunity with a high-end customer who had already identified she needed what I had to offer. All I had to do was gain her trust and become the expert in her eyes. The only thing standing between me and sealing the deal was my ability to listen, ask the right questions, and shine with confidence. I showed up to the sales meeting with all my tricks—plus information on every product I had to sell. I told her about all the different features and what I believed were the benefits. As I went on and on, I started to notice her eyes getting glassy. I was losing her attention because I wasn’t giving her what she needed.

My “almost” customer wanted me to ask her the right questions to ensure she was getting the right product for her needs. She was counting on me to understand those needs and be expert enough to give her a recommendation. I failed miserably at asking her the right questions and listening. Not only did I lose the sale, but my customer became overwhelmed by my rambling sales approach and ran the other direction to a competitor.

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