Sales guru Paul Cherry makes a compelling point about prospecting – unless you’ve been trained in the mystical art of mind reading, you can’t know what a potential buyer is thinking until you have an actual conversation with him or her.

The operative word here is “conversation” — a mutual exchange of ideas between two humans. Unfortunately, many cold calls aren’t conversations. They’re one-sided verbal assaults, where the seller tells the prospect all about what’s on the seller’s mind. And unless you just happen to call someone who just happens to need what you happen to be selling, you’ll never learn much about your prospect’s needs. Which means your chances of actually meeting their needs are pretty close to zero.

Effective prospecting isn’t about telling. It’s all about asking.

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