“What’s your excuse, scumbag?”

—Gunny Sargent Hartman, Full Metal Jacket

Imagine it’s your third meeting with a prospect whom some might call a “whale”—sales lingo for a prize prospect who can potentially put a lot of money in your pocket.

You ask for the order, and the objections come flying out of the prospect’s mouth. You wonder if they’re real or just excuses. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing. (Yet.)

After handling them as best you can, you ask for the sale again, and during the 20 seconds of silence that feels like 20 hours, your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing, and you’re secretly terrified of hearing the word no.

Finally, the silence is broken: The prospect said no. Your fear came true.

You thank the person for their time, put the paperwork back in your briefcase, and head back to the office to make your cold calls for the day and hopefully “drum up some business.” You put on a happy face as you’re leaving but inside you’re devastated and feel like a failure. You even feel contempt for that prospect.

Perhaps its contempt for yourself you’re feeling.

When you return, your sales manager asks if you got the deal or not. Lacking the courage to say no, you say that they’re very interested but they’re not ready yet and you’ll get the deal in a few months. Back at your desk you simply move them to a later date on your sales forecast.

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

What’s wrong is that you had no power, no balls, and never had any to begin with. If ...

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