The initial stages of any presentation are vital to your overall success in sales.
Great salespeople know this and take the time in the early stages to set the ground-work to establish if this particular prospect is interested enough and qualified enough to move forward.
These salespeople, unlike their counterparts (the weaker sales reps) are willing to ask tougher questions. One question in particular is a gem and it will illicit an answer that can save you a lot of wasted time.
Ask these two questions in the initial meeting and warm-up stage, after you have built some rapport with the prospect:
 “I was curious, how long have you been thinking about adding this insurance policy to your portfolio?”
Prospect answers – “To be truthful I’ve been thinking about this for over a year but haven’t pulled the trigger.”
You then answer: “A year? Really, that long?”  
This comment affirms (definition of affirm: to assert (as a judgment or decree) as valid or confirmed) the prospect’s delay in putting off the decision-making process.
You then immediately follow that up with the following:
“What made you decide to move forward today?”  
The prospect is left with two choices, they can give you an answer in the affirmative and set you up for success, or they can answer it in the negative.
For example; “I wasn’t planning to move forward right now, I’m just exploring my options,” is still a perfectly acceptable answer leaving you with a greater level of CERTAINTY regarding where you stand.
This is a simple but brilliantly effective qualification, and commitment to the purchase step.
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