This happens when you're not listening carefully enough to the prospect. When prospects make statements like "we've been looking at buying something like this" or "I was thinking of contacting your firm about this", they are signaling that they have already made a decision and simply need to be closed. However, if you're not listening carefully, you might miss the opportunity and let the force of habit carry the conversation towards the intermediary step.
What's ironic about this is that missing the opportunity to close usually means a lost sale. If a prospect is ready to be closed, then they're going to buy from somebody. And if you're not going to take the order, you can be certain that somebody else will. Creating an intermediary step only ensures that YOU won't be able to close until after that step has taken place.
That's why it's so important to be 100% present and listening to the prospect when you're prospecting. You don't want to miss those low hanging fruit, simply because you weren't being attentive to the prospect. So stay aware and keep nimble. If the customer is flashing green lights, go ahead and ask for the business.
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