John could put his finger on the exact moment when the sale went bad.

He’d been talking for about half an hour, running through the main points of his presentation smoothly and skillfully, asking the right questions, and keying off the answers. The responses hadn’t been effusive, but he was feeling good about the tone of the meeting, ready to move toward closing.

Then the client leaned forward a bit, hands folded in front of him.

“John,” he said, “I don’t want to waste your time.”

The temperature in the conference room dropped fifteen degrees. A minute before John had been mentally calculating his commission. Now he felt as if someone had pulled his chair away from under him.

“I don’t quite understand,” he heard himself ...

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