Ask For the Sale Tom, one of my consulting clients, is in financial services. One afternoon he was telling me about the wonderful appointment he had just had with John – who is an elephant – a H-U-G-E prospect.

Tom had spent the past hour going over his presentation with John and explained all the reasons he felt John needed life insurance.

He told me, with a great deal of pride, “I handled each one of his objections brilliantly. I had an answer to every question that he asked. It was a marvellous performance, if I must say so myself.”

“That’s wonderful. I’m really proud of you. Oh, and by the way, how much life insurance did he buy? What’s the premium on the policy? How much are you going to make in commission, and when is the medical exam scheduled?”

The mood in the room instantly changed from joy and jubilation to arctic cold. There was a deathly silence. The look on Tom’s face changed from one of ecstasy to a look of desperation. His face looked an ashen white. He started to mumble.

“B-b-b-but…  I handled every one of his objections brilliantly. I had an answer for every one of his questions.” He repeated.

“Did John sign an application?”

“W-e-l-l… no he didn’t.”

“Did he give you a check? Schedule a medical exam?”

“Nnnnn no.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t really know.”

“Then what makes this such a great meeting? Did John need the life insurance you recommended?”

“Yes he did!”

“Then why didn’t he buy the policy?”

“He said he needed to think about it further.”

“What’s going to happen next?”

“He said he’ll give me a call next week?”

“And when are you going to follow-up, if you haven’t heard from him? Have you scheduled a follow-up in your database yet? Have you written detailed notes of your conversation in your contact manager?”


“No. I haven’t gotten around to it.”

“When were you planning to do this?”

The room was silent once again. A black hole.

“Tom, What made the appointment so wonderful?”

“I guess I didn’t do so well after all, did I?”

The Goal Is To Close The Sale

Sometimes we forget what the goal is. It’s not to make a great presentation. It’s not to send the prospect a proposal [via e-mail, snail mail, or fax]. It’s not to overcome all the objections.

The goal is to close the sale.

In Tom’s case, he has lost control of this opportunity. He never asked John to buy. He didn’t even schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss his insurance needs – and get a signed application and a check – before he concluded his meeting with John.

Without a proper follow-up system opportunities slip through the cracks and fade away.

And he wonders why business is so bad.

Unfortunately, he’s wasting everybody’s time.

He’s applying the 20/80 Rule. He’s spending 80 percent of his time doing things that generate less than 20 percent of his results. That ISN’T the secret to success.

That’s what I call negative leverage.

Tom said that John needed life insurance, but didn’t know if John felt that he NEEDED life insurance.

Why? Because he spent all of his time ‘telling’ John about his company, himself and his great portfolio of products.


He didn’t spend enough time asking John questions about his goals, dreams, ambitions, and his problems.

Tom and I spent an hour working together and came up with a list of questions for him to ask John. A few days later Tom called and scheduled another meeting.

Instead of trying to ‘talk’ John into buying the life insurance policy, he asked John a lot of questions about where he was today, and where he wanted to be in the future.

After about thirty minutes of conversation John finally began to understand the value of what it was that Tom was offering and said, “Let’s do it. Where are the papers I need to sign?”

Tom called me later in the day to tell me of “the wonderful meeting he had just had.” And this time it WAS a wonderful meeting for both Tom and John.

More Articles from our Mentor Jeffrey Mayer will be Posted next Month..

Jeffrey Mayer my Mentor helped business owners, corporate executives and sales professionals, set their priorities, get focused, and achieve their goals, so they can grow their business, get ahead in life, and live their dreams. This article is reprinted with permission from “Jeffrey Mayer’s Succeeding In Business Newsletter. Copyright© 2004, Jeffrey Mayer. All rights reserved. Updated versions of his Sales Tools can be found at:

Published On: March 2nd, 2020 / Categories: Business Builder, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy /

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