Thanks for all the great questions submitted on Linkedin yesterday. You guys blew up my inbox. I grabbed the top 5 common themed ones to answer.

Q – How do you create urgency in prospects? A – You don’t “create” it. You find it. Urgency comes from pain. If you assist your prospects in becoming aware of their pain, and help them focus on the cost and implications of not dealing with that pain throughout the prospecting process, you’ll find that the urgency (as well as the budget) usually appears. This starts with selling the appointment and continues throughout the conversation. Focus on validating pain. Urgency comes from that.

Q – What’s your favorite closing technique? A – There was a time when “closing” was an effective tool (although not always ethical). That time has passed. The coffee isn’t for closers anymore. The coffee is for the detectives. Those are the sales pros who can find pain and point it out to prospects. If you have to use some trick to “close” people, you either have a bad product, or you are a bad salesperson, because when you find and highlight pain, the prospect closes themselves. Push for a decision (yes or no). That’s my favorite technique. Get prospects off the fence. You’ll get no’s, but you’ll also get yes’s.

Q – What’s the secret to sales? A –  I don’t think it comes down to just one thing. That said, I think the biggest mistake sales people make is they start selling the product too quickly. Slow down, and get time first. You have nothing if you don’t have time. Sell the appointment first. If you are good at what you do, you bring value first and foremost with your expertise on diagnosing the problem and being able to recommend solutions. Start there. Don’t skip that step. Never underestimate the value you can bring your clients. Your time is as valuable as theirs, and you should sell from that positioning.

Q – What’s one of your horror stories from selling? A – I was selling home satellite systems (those big 8-10 ft dishes and the programming packages that came with them). These were in-home appointments set by the inside sales team, very often in rural areas that had no cable TV options. I walked into this trailer home once and it was horrible. Dirty and messy, piles of cat and dog feces everywhere, stench of urine in the air. It was a mother and her adult son living in squalor. We had a 45 minute presentation deck but I ran through it in 18 minutes flat. At some point, a huge rat ran across the back of the couch and jumped to the floor and across the room. I was the only one who flinched. I quoted them an idiotically high price, hoping to get thrown out. They agreed (much to my surprise and dismay) and I had to take another 15 minutes of that hell in order to fill out the paperwork. I figured they’d never get financed anyway. Turns out they were both on disability and loaded, so the deal went through. It was actually the highest price ever quoted on one of those systems in company history. The sales manager actually framed it and kept it on the wall in the office as example of what was possible. They all thought I was an amazing closer, and of course, I let them believe that. No one in that office knew the truth about that sit. Goes to show you can never judge a book by it’s cover, and also that there’s always a back story.

Q – Can anyone succeed in sales? A –  Yes. Like anything else, sales is a practiced skill set. I’ve seen complete novices have sales success because they were well coached and disciplined enough to make lots of calls. People skills are a plus, no doubt. Extroverts can have an easier time dealing with the people contact. Your personality can offer advantages for sure, but proper science and activity levels can overcome all of those other factors. Motivation is great, but as Jocko Willink says, “Motivation without discipline won’t work”. Activity breeds results. Make the calls, each day, every day, and learn and practice the fundamental concepts of proper sales science.