I had a recent interaction with a salesperson. He asked me a lot of questions, and it was clear that the line of questions he chose were the same questions he asks all of his prospects. He wasn’t really interested in learning about my needs or me; instead, he was trying to view my answers through his solutions.

He was, sadly, only interested in asking questions that he believed would drive me to a future commitment. He was solely and deliberately focused on advancing the opportunity (well, what he thought was an opportunity).

A Loose Grip On Your Outcome

I admire this salesperson for knowing what he wanted.

But, I couldn’t give him what he wanted because he made it clear that he was only sitting in front of me to perform a tactical line of questions to drive me to a close. He didn’t really want to listen to me. He didn’t really want to learn. And, he didn’t really care about my business problems or me.

His needs analysis was about creating value for him; it wasn’t about creating value for me.

Even though you may want to focus on obtaining the future commitment that you need, that outcome only comes through your focus on the sales interaction in which you are presently engaged.

You don’t score points by looking at the scoreboard. You put points on the board by single-mindedly focusing on playing each play well.

By being fully present and engaged in making the interaction valuable for your dream client, you demonstrate your caring, your intentions, and your professionalism. This is what is required if you want to create value for your dream client.

Your Intentions Are Felt

When you are completing a needs analysis and discussing your dream clients needs, their challenges, their problems, and their opportunities, are you asking questions with the intention of truly understanding their situation? Or are you asking questions that you believe will move you successfully to the commitment you need? Think your intentions aren’t felt, that they aren’t known?

By focusing on asking the questions that you believe will move you to obtaining a further commitment, you miss the opportunity to deeply understand your dream client’s needs, you telegraph that your intentions aren’t centered on helping them, and you treat the interaction as transactional. By not paying deep attention to your dream client’s answers and demonstrating your desire to truly understand, you make obtaining the further commitment more difficult to obtain–not easier to obtain.

You go into a sales call with a planned outcome. But you obtain that outcome by focusing on providing value to your dream client during that interaction, not by focusing on what you want to obtain as the outcome. The outcome is the natural consequence of what you do–or don’t do–during the sales interaction to make it valuable to your dream client.


Are you more likely to obtain the outcome you need from a sales interaction by focusing on the outcome that you want or by focusing on making sure the interaction is valuable for your dream client?

What do you telegraph about your intentions during sales interactions? Do you telegraph that you care about helping your dream client obtain the outcome they need, or do you prove you care more about your own outcome?

In addition to making it more likely that you get the outcome that you need, what else do you gain by giving your dream client your full focus and your full engagement?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 11, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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