By Brian Tracy

Do your homework. The most important part of professional selling today is conducting as much pre-call research on the prospective client as you can. To get a serious hearing--much less a sale--you need credibility. The more research you do, the more credible you are. And the bigger the sale, the more essential research is.

There's nothing more impressive than to go in and say, "I've been looking forward to this call so much that I've done research on your company and found out the following." Call the company in advance to get product literature, visit your local library, get on the Internet--however you do it, do your research. That's the biggest distinction between those who are serious about selling and those who aren't

TOP TIP

By Tom Hopkins

Know how to handle anticipated objections. Those are the objections you hear from, say, 75 percent of the people you talk to about your product or service. There are three steps: Identify the objection, figure out how to make it an advantage, and bring it up before the customer does. Don't wait for the customer to voice it. Bring it up and show how it's actually an advantage, or at least something people will ignore.

Never wait for the customer to voice an objection you know you will hear. Bring it up yourself, and turn it to your advantage--that's a crucial selling skill.