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Sometimes you need more than a handshake to seal the deal.

This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

I've been in the business of sales my entire adult life. I'm either selling something myself or training others to be better salespeople every day. I've studied all the closing techniques. And I've interviewed thousands of the top sales reps in the country, who've all come to the same conclusion: If you can't say, "Why don't we go ahead with this?" to your customer, then there's something wrong-not with your closing, but with your approach to sales.

And remember, your closing technique only works if it's built on a strong foundation. To prepare for sales seminars, I interview my clients' customers to understand what my clients' salespeople are doing right and wrong. The people I interview tell me things like: "The best sales reps come in here and know my business. They know who I sell to, and they know what I need. They don't approach me with some generic presentation they learned by rote. They make me feel like I'm their first and best customer."

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