Uncover Opportunities

When working with customers, don't get so caught up in the selling process that you forget to look for other opportunities. Here are four basic components to discovering sales opportunities:

1. Pay attention. The only thing customers care about is what you can do for them. Don't limit your research to face-to-face meetings. Read the business press to learn what is going on in their industries and how market forces affect them. 

2. Ask questions. You will get information about their challenges and engage them in your process of discovering solutions to their problems. Stick to basic questions: who, what, where, when, and how much. 

3. Document. Put your perceptions and insights on paper. Then use them as the basis for a letter in which you outline what you learned about the company and its goals. End with a "next step" section - where you give your recommendations. 

4. Feedback. Review your letter with your prospects to make sure you've encompassed their situation. Your prospects will be impressed that you care enough to get it right, while you are validating them and their ideas. Now is the time that you can talk about what you can do for them. 

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