I have not had much success selling people stuff they did not want or need.  When I sold in the high-tech space, I had much more success with companies and individuals who had a need for the solution that I was selling.  When I sold medical devices, I had my best results with surgeons who had a sincere interest in my products that enhanced the quality of care for their patients.  I was not a private detective, but I began to see a pattern.

Engage people who want it

If this makes sense to you thus far, then it must be crystal clear that you or your sales people need to engage potential customers who want to use what you sell. Minimize the time and effort you spend with others who have no interest in what you are selling. Seems rather obvious, right?  I know what you are wondering now.  How will I know if the next prospect may have an interest in my product(s)?   The answer is that you will not know at first.  This is precisely the time when you must put your “Big Boy Pants” on and start the selling process.  Are you ready?  I certainly hope so, because you may not get another opportunity like this one.

Differentiate between prospects and suspects

Dwayne Wade and Charles Barkley have their Fave Five via T-Mobile while I too have a “Fabulous Five” which will allow you to differentiate between prospects and suspects. When you encounter a potential customer for the first time, be prepared to deliver the “Fabulous Five” and do so with passion.   I almost forgot to mention, be sure to make eye contact.

  1. This is who I am!
  2. This is what I sell!
  3. This is why I do what I do!
  4. This is what I will do for you!
  5. Is this of interest to you?

At this point, say absolutely nothing but do get ready.   Welcome to the wonderful world of sales. Congratulations!  You may now experience first-hand what it feels like to get rejected.  It is an acquired taste, but one you will get used to.  Many will tell you “No,” “Maybe” or “Not right now.”   If you hear something like this then the next words out of your mouth should be “Thanks for your time today, best of luck in the future and I look forward to staying in touch.  Enjoy the rest of your day!”

This is unlike what you may hear and read from the various sales gurus and self-help books, how the key to be a selling mega-star is overcoming objections.  I am telling you to walk away.  I know that you want to dig in, participate in a cerebral sword fight, but now is not the time.  Keep in mind, you are not giving up but rather making the decision to spend time with folks who get it, get you and have a need right now.

Don’t worry about selling everybody, just the next one!


Devin Hughes is a former college basketball player, sales and marketing aficionado, keynote speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations.  He is best known for his expertise in selling best practices, sales strategy, sales training, leadership development and sales coaching.  He is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world.  A graduate of Colgate University, he lives Carlsbad, CA with his wife and four daughters.  You may contact him via e-mail at devin@devinchughes.com. His website is: http://www.devinchughes.com/ He is also a featured blogger on http://www.upstartnation.biz.