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There are two easy ways to know if someone is really interested in your product or service.
First, if they ask you questions, then they're interested. It doesn't mean they're ready to buy but it does show interest. Usually, more specific questions become, more interested they are.
Second, if they are willing to commit to something, they are interested. If they will commit to meeting with you, it's a good sign they are interested in learning more. If they commit to giving you information about themselves or their business, then they probably have some interest. Or, if they are willing to do some work, such as putting together some information and bringing it to your meeting. That's a very good sign they're interested in what you might be able to do for them.
Once someone is interested in your product or service then you need to determine if it's right for them. You ask questions and get to know them. When you determine your product or service can do what they want done, then you ask for order.
Asking for order any sooner than that tells people you either don't understand your role in sales process or you don't care enough to help them accomplish their goals.
Either way you're sending wrong message.
The world has changed. People are more informed and more assertive. They want help in accomplishing their objectives. They want help making better decisions. They want you to earn their business by bringing real value to table.
So, if you're involved in selling (and most of us who own or manage businesses sell something), don't be like Needle Nose Ned.
Kevin is the president of Coffee News Twin Cities LLC, a national trainer for Coffee News USA and an online marketing blogger/columnist for AllBusiness.com where he writes "Better Local Marketing." He can be reached at www.CoffeeNewsMetro.com or www.BetterLocalMarketing.com.