Here are some of the things salespeople and entrepreneurs say that provide a glimpse into why they struggle to create and win opportunities:

Why we call it selling

The prospective customer wants to control the process. It may be true that the potential customer has some idea as to what they need from you as a salesperson. When what they need from you as a seller doesn’t serve you and doesn’t serve them, you are obligated to sell them on another process. Gaining agreement on a better process isn’t easy, but that is why we call it selling.

The prospect doesn’t want to give me access to the stakeholders I need. If you sell business-to-business, it’s likely that you require access and consensus from multiple stakeholders. You will, inevitably, run into contacts who do not want to allow you to meet with the additional stakeholders you need. Not gaining access massively increases the likelihood that you lose an opportunity. Gaining access to the stakeholders massively increases your odds of winning. You have to sell your prospect on the value that you will create by meeting with the stakeholders, as well as how you will protect your key stakeholder’s interests in the process.

The contact won’t give me the information I need. In some cases, you need information to better understand your prospective client’s current state and propose the appropriate future state. There are some companies whose information must be kept private. But if not having access to that data prevents you from doing the best work you can for your prospective client and your company, then you have to sell your them on giving you access.

The potential client doesn’t want to meet with me. She wants me to email information. This is the worst.  No one really wants you to email them information. What they are doing is getting rid of you, so they don’t have to waste their time with a salesperson who they don’t believe will use their time wisely.You have to sell your prospect a value proposition that they can agree to, one in which you create value greater than the time they give you.

They believe that the lowest price is the right decision. They don’t see the value in what we do. Many of your prospective customers have post-traumatic recessionary stress disorder. They are afraid to spend money. The fact that they cannot justify the delta between your price and your competitor’s price doesn’t mean that the greater value doesn’t exist. It means that you haven’t done enough work to justify the additional spending required.  You have to sell your prospective client that there is a difference between price and cost.

It isn’t easy to sell your prospective client on any of the five ideas contained in the paragraphs above. But that is why we call it “selling.” There is a difference between selling and taking orders. Taking orders is easy, and selling is difficult.

The better you get at understanding and making all the small sales that occur before the final close, the greater your success.

  • What sale do you need to make to overcome the obstacles and objections you hear from your prospective clients?

Comment to send me your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Forward to send this to someone who needs to be reminded that there is a reason we called these things we do “selling.” you can invite them to join us here every Sunday by pointing them to

Do good work this week, and I’ll see you back here next Sunday.


Anthony Iannarino


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P.P.S. Here is a new In the Arena Podcast with Tim Sanders on his new book Dealstorming.


Contributor Anthony Lannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at and you can subscribe to his newsletter at