Have you ever heard the phrase “detach from the outcome”? It’s a tenet of many Eastern religions. And for many years it was a concept I found totally unfathomable. After all, sales is all about outcomes. Our income is at risk if we can’t get the business.

But over the years, I’ve learned the wisdom of this idea. In fact, I noticed that the more I wanted to close a sale—or should I say needed to close a sale—the less likely I was to close it.

Why? Because my focus was on me and not on my prospect, as it should have been. Whenever you need something that much, you end up pushing too hard for it. Your desperation short-circuits the process and you go for the close before the sale is ripe and your prospect is ready.

Do your prospects feel this? You bet. They lean back, put obstacles in your path and refuse to return your calls or emails. Because when your neediness begins to show, you become even less desirable to do business with—all because you’re so eager to get the sale, so attached to the outcome.

I’ve learned that the only cure is to be willing to say to yourself, “I may need this sale, but I’m going to put that aside and focus on helping my prospect make a good decision.” Sometimes, you have to say it over and over to yourself, like a mantra.

When you stop focusing on closing, everything changes, because your prospect’s needs become your driving force, something your prospect picks up on. And, paradoxically, that’s the best way to get what you want. Go figure.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling, Selling to Big Companies and Agile Selling. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.