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Being Politically Correct When Selling Can Cost You Sales

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In our culture it is basically un-American for a prospective customer or client to help a sales representative or service industry professional in the selling process, by answering the probing questions required in an effective consultative selling approach. However, many sales trainers, coaches and managers teach that to be "politically correct," polite or to look professional, you must ask permission if you want to probe for information.

Don't believe it!


If you believe you must ask permission to ask questions, you dramatically reduce your ability to access the information needed to consistently close your sales, because most prospects have an inborn resistance to helping you make your sale.

The problem with "asking permission" to ask questions, is based in the same psychology that a person has when approached by a clerk in a retail store who asks, "May I help you?" Even if the customer knows what she wants, and could use the assistance, the question, as suggested in another myth, will often trigger the words, "No thanks I'm just looking."

To overcome a prospect's inborn resistance to answering questions that will help you make your sale, use the "provocative question/takeaway transition" method outlined in detail in several of The $elling Edge, Inc. publications. This proven technique is designed to set the stage for asking in-depth, probing questions that will not be resisted and will actually produce the opposite effect in your prospective customer or clients. Check out our manuals at:

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge?, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Deloitte & Touch?, Bank One, Jefferson Pilot, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and the best selling Building & Closing the Sale, Fifty-Minute series books and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publications, Inc. Menlo Park, California. He has also authored a Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides.

Virden assists clients through a unique personal coaching (telephone)program. He has taught at the Center For Professional Development, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas and the School Of Entrepreneurship, Marriott School Of Management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. You can contact Virden at: or learn more about him at:

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