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Right on Target

Hit the mark with prospective customers by learning how to find their hot buttons.

This story appears in the February 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Wouldn't it be great if every prospective customer you had came right out and said "Here's what's most important to my company--and here's what I need your product to do for me"? That would definitely increase your closing ratio. Usually, however, discovering a customer's hot buttons isn't quite that simple.

A hot button is anything that's of major importance to a prospective buyer. To one customer, it might be timely delivery; to another, it might be making a stronger impact. If you approached both of those prospects with the same pitch or presentation, you'd surely miss the mark on one or the other (and maybe even both). That's why you need to seek out every customer's key needs and tailor your presentations accordingly. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

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