Gunslingers in the Wild West often lived another day by quickly grabbing their Colt 45′s to put an end to a threat with a bullet. Another type of gun slinging is happening daily across the globe as salespeople shoot from the hip in meetings with prospects and clients, relying on memory alone for the questions used to gather important information. This often leads to poor marksmanship as details are inevitably missed as they focus too much on what they are going to ask next versus hearing every little nuance and detail being told. When suggested they use lists of questions to ensure they remain fully present, tenured salespeople often bristle, believing that relying on such an archaic convention is beneath their skill level.

Yes, you may be an accomplished and seasoned veteran, having won countless battles against some of the toughest customers. However, just like the gunslinger had to focus completely on their target in a gun battle, you must do the same if you’re going to develop an even deeper understanding of your customers and their needs. This means that you must do everything in your power to notice all of the particulars if you are to outdo and outperform your competition. Dividing your attention between your customer and your own brain as it searches for the next right thing to ask keeps you from being fully present, ensuring you will miss something. And that something could end up being the one detail that kills your chances to win that business. Although it may feel like one of the rudimentary basics, operating from a list of questions in every meeting allows you to hear and notice everything, keeping your chances of success alive and well.

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