When was the last time you asked for the order and your prospect told you they wanted to take it home and sleep on it? Unless you’re selling mattresses, that’s not the kind of response you were hoping to hear.

When frustrated by an unmotivated prospect, regrettably, most salespeople lose the sale by either becoming overly aggressive or folding like a cheap lawn chair. When you arrive at the moment of truth and look your client in the eye, there should be no hesitation on his or her part to pick up the pen and endorse the application.

The art of motivating a prospect to accept your recommendations has far more to do with your relationship skills and listening ability than it does with issues of product or price. Earning a prospect’s confidence does not occur in a single moment nor is it created with a clever phrase or a glib presentation. Instead, it’s built on a solid foundation of trust and rapport that begins with the very first handshake.

Some misguided sales reps have been taught their job is to merely educate their prospects and provide them with enough information to overcome their fears and logically reach a buying decision. For those of you who are laboring under this false sales premise, I would simply remind you that people do not buy logically. In fact, they are motivated emotionally by a desire for gain or a fear of loss, period. In other words, you’ll never logically convince someone who is not first sold emotionally.

In my opinion, the two most important qualities top producing sales reps have in common is their ability to ask probing questions and listen like a homicide detective. The first step in the needs analysis phase is to assist your prospects in determining their goals or “hot buttons” through a series of pointed, open-ended questions. Don’t be in such a hurry that you miss the opportunity to uncover your prospect’s core feelings and motivation. There is a tendency for some sales reps to cookie-cut the needs analysis process and pigeonhole people, rather than take the time to fully personalize their recommendations. Find out what’s important to them: what are their goals and concerns for the future?

For example, it might be concern for the quality of their health care or a nest egg for their children. Ask additional follow-up questions to get your prospects to expand their answers and stay fully engaged throughout the appointment.

The effort you invest early on in the selling process to develop rapport and uncover hot buttons will pay dividends the next time you reach the moment of truth and ask for the order.

John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call (937) 299-9001. Free newsletter available on Web site.

For more tips on building client trust, see:

Six steps to building trust on your Web site

Postscript: Ethics: Full Disclosure for Optimal Trust

What’s Going On: The Time Is Now To Reinforce Our Trust

For more from John Boe, click here.