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The ?Finding Common Ground? Sales Technique, Is A Myth!

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Almost every book, manual, workshop or tape series teaching selling skills, will at one point suggest that you need to find something in com-mon with your prospective customer or client, in order to produce a trusting relationship. The thinking behind this suggestion is that if you find you have something in common with a decision-maker, somehow a bond or trust will be formed from a shared interest or mutual acquaint-ance. It is true that people buy from people like themselves, so on the surface this selling technique seems like a reasonable method to produce positive feelings in a prospect, customer or client. But, finding something in common with a decision-maker just takes too long in today's fast paced selling environment and often is too difficult to uncover to build the trusting relationship that actually produces sales success.

Studies conducted by Dr. Al Mahribian at UCLA into effective communi-cation, strongly indicate that often the decision to purchase a product or service is made in the first two minutes of a sales transaction. Two min-utes is usually not enough time to discover something you might have in common with a prospective customer or client and then build on it to create a trusting relationship, so you need to find a more effective method to cultivate the trust needed to consistently produce sales.

To build trust quickly in a sales transaction, all you need to do is ask a series of "open-ended, personal questions." One of the easiest ways to build rapport and trust is to get a decision-maker chatting about some-thing that she loves to talk about-herself! Generally, people are far more interested in themselves than in you, your organization or what you're selling. However, psychologists tell us that when a prospect reveals something personal about himself, that's when a strong and trusting re-lationship is being formed. Always remember, "People buy from people they trust!" To obtain a series of proven "trust building methods" just go to .

Questioning and really listening, not talking or telling, builds trust in a sales transaction. If you do more than 30 percent of the talking in a sales presentation or sales transaction, you are talking too much! Think about your last presentation. Who did most of the talking? This question, if an-swered honestly can give you insight into your level of closing skill. Always remember, closing a sale is a process not a technique.

Best wishes for continued sales success.

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge?, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, tradeshows and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Ko-dak, IBM, Deloitte & Touch?, Bank One, Jefferson Wells, 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 Thompson Learning. He has also authored a Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides. Check them out at:

Virden teaches for the Center For Professional Development, Texas Tech Uni-versity at Lubbock, Texas and in the School Of Entrepreneurship, J. Willard And Alice S. Marriott School Of Management at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. You can contact Virden at: or learn more about him at: .

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